Tony Stewart: Let’s see a race between Danica Patrick and Richard Petty

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Tony Stewart is obviously a very protective boss.

Even The King, Richard Petty, will suffer Stewart’s wrath when it comes to protecting one of his drivers, Danica Patrick.

Appearing on Performance Radio Network’s “Fast Talk” (the episode with Stewart can be heard at GoPRN.com), Stewart made it very clear what he would like Patrick to do if she wins a Sprint Cup race this season.

“If I were her, I’d take (the checkered flag) over and cram it up his (expletive),” Stewart said of Petty. “If it were me, that’s just me.”

That outburst was in response to the suggestion that Patrick might take the flag to Petty for his autograph to prove that she can indeed win a race in NASCAR.

This obviously all stems from Petty’s comments nearly two weeks ago in an appearance at the Canadian Motorsports Expo in Toronto, where he said the only way Patrick would win a Sprint Cup race was “if everybody else stayed home,” according to Wheels.ca. It’s a story that has grown wheels since, necessitated a rebuttal from Patrick, and then forced Petty to mildly backtrack.

But wait, it gets better.

Stewart then suggested that Petty climb back into a race car for the first time in 22 years and have a match race with Patrick in a two-car IROC-style shootout.

“I told her she should challenge Richard to a heads-up race,” Stewart said. “I think that would pretty much settle it once and for all, maybe get him to shut up a little bit too.

“He drove in an era when he had cars that were superior to what everybody else was running a lot. I think he forgets that NASCAR has changed a lot since he was a driver and how hard it really is now.”

 

Petty is 76, while Patrick turns 32 on March 25.

For the record, Petty’s last win in a Sprint Cup car was 30 years ago in 1984 (Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway). But let’s not forget Petty is NASCAR’s all-time wins leader with 200 Sprint Cup victories, not to mention being tied with the late Dale Earhardt for most Cup championships by a driver (seven).

Even at his age, Petty likely still has a few racing tricks up his sleeve — or firesuit, depending on your perspective.

Patrick, meanwhile, has yet to win a race in NASCAR, either Sprint Cup or Nationwide, and has just one race win to her credit during her previous days on the IndyCar circuit.

“I will supply the cars, I don’t care,” Stewart said. “If he wants to race her, I’ll make sure they have exactly the same set-up in the car and give him a chance. He can drive one of my 14 cars I don’t care.”

Somewhere, there HAS to be a promoter already trying to find a way to make this happen. It’d be a natural for the legendary Humpy Wheeler, and just think of the potential good it could do.

A Petty-Patrick match race could raise a ton of money for charity and give NASCAR perhaps its biggest story in years.

If Petty would agree to take part but is reluctant to do it on an actual track – maybe they could do it on a computer game instead of the real thing, if necessary.

Who do  YOU think would win?

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”