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

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.