Danica Patrick hasn’t had the best NASCAR season. She is currently 27th in the Sprint Cup Standings, and only finished in the top 10 once in 16. According to former driver Kyle Petty, that’s enough evidence to prove that she’s not really a race car driver.
“She’s not a race car driver. There’s a difference,” Petty tells Speed TV. “The King [Richard] always had that stupid saying, but it’s true, ‘Lots of drivers can drive fast, but very few drivers can race.”
He continues, “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.”
When reporters brought the comments to Patrick’s attention on June 28 at the Kentucky Speedway, she brushed them off with a laugh.
“I really don’t care,” Patrick is reported as saying. “There’s going to be people who believe in you and people who don’t. Plenty of people say bad things about me. I see it on Twitter. Some people want me to die. But at the end of the day, you get over that stuff and trust you’re doing a good job for the people who believe in you.”
Petty might be ready to detract Patrick’s skills, but not all racers share his opinion. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also spoke with reporters at the Kentucky Speedway and stood up for Patrick’s skill.
“I have to disagree with Kyle,” he says. “I think she’s a tough competitor. She works really hard at what she does and she has run some really good races. On every occasion, she’s outrunning several guys on the circuit.”