Daytona Beach, FL – During NASCAR Media Day at Daytona, Danica Patrick took the opportunity to respond to the comments made by Richard Petty, the seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. The firestorm came about when Petty was asked if he thought Patrick would ever win a race, and he said, “(Only) if everybody else stayed home.” His comments were made during an interview at the Canadian Motorsports Expo in Toronto last weekend.
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions,” she said without hesitation. “People are going to judge what he said whether they judge it well or not, and I am just not going to. It is what it is, and it is about my belief that everyone can have their own opinion. It has nothing to do with where it comes from to me. The people that matter to me are my team, my sponsors and those three-year old kids that want a big hug and say they want to grow up to be just like you. That’s the stuff that I really focus on.”
She added she has no plans to pursue Petty while in Daytona. “I will not seek him out. It really doesn’t matter,” she said. “It is interesting conversation, and I am fortunate to be in it.”
Patrick said she got off to a faster start in the IndyCar Series and nearly won the Indianapolis 500 in only her fourth race but in NASCAR, it has taken her longer to become acclimated. She believes the competition level in NASCAR with the drivers and the cars is very intense. “The teams are very competitive, and they never sit still,” she commented. “It goes up and down among 43 cars, not 23 cars (as in IndyCar). It is extremely competitive.”
She went on to say that stock cars are not her background, which has made her transition slower. “I am still trying to figure out stock cars out and will for a long time. I look under the hood and really don’t know what I am looking at.”