“She’s not a race car driver. She can go fast, but she can’t race.”
Them’s fightin’ words from Kyle Petty, former NASCAR driver and current analyst regarding Danica Patrick’s ability level in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
In an interview that aired on SPEED’s “NASCAR Race Hub” Thursday, Petty explained the difference between a “fast driver” and a “race car driver,” in his opinion.
“She is a hot commodity and rightfully so,” he said. “In a market where everybody that crawls into a race car on a Sunday afternoon in Cup racing is male; she’s the female. I don’t have a problem with her being a marketing machine – more power to her.
“She can go fast, and I’ve seen her go fast. She drives the wheels off it when she goes fast. But she’s not a race car driver. There’s a difference.
“Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs. She can go fast, but she can’t race. I think she’s come a long way, but she’s still not a race car driver. And I don’t think she’s ever going to be a race car driver.”
Petty made similar remarks in 2010, to the Associated Press. At the time, he questioned what Patrick was bringing to NASCAR beyond her marketing ability, as she was transitioning from IndyCar into NASCAR.