Danica Patrick responds to criticism from Kyle Petty

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If Sprint Cup rookie Danica Patrick was riled up by Kyle Petty’s criticism towards her, it didn’t show on Friday at Kentucky Speedway.

During Thursday’s “NASCAR Race Hub” broadcast on SPEED, Petty commended Patrick for her marketing acumen but said that she was “not a race car driver,” arguing that the former open-wheel star was “the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs.”

However, it should be pointed out that Patrick has indeed posted a better average finish (25.8) against her average starting position (32.0) in 16 races this season.

“I just think that it’s funny how [Petty] said that I could qualify but I can’t race, because those of you that actually watch what I do would know that I can’t qualify for crap,” Patrick said. “In the race, things go much better.”

As for the matter of the amount of overall criticism she has received, Patrick knows that there will always be those that put her down (“You really think that I will silence naysayers? That is the answer — you don’t,” she said on the topic). But in her mind, all that matters is her own belief in her abilities and the support she receives from her Stewart-Haas Racing team.

“I really don’t care [about the criticism],” she said. “It’s true that there are plenty of people who say really bad things about me. I hear about them or I read about them or read them on Twitter. People want me to die.

“At the end of the day, you just get over that kind of stuff and all you can do is trust that you’re doing a good job and that’s all that matters and the people around you believe in you.”

Patrick will start 29th in tomorrow’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky, which will be her first Cup start at the 1.5-mile oval after seven runs there in the IZOD IndyCar Series from 2005 to 2011.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III