Kyle Petty gave his thoughts on Danica Patrick and he did not sugarcoat it. The son of Richard Petty – winningest driver in NASCAR history – described Patrick as a marketing machine not a racecar driver.
The love affair with Patrick is over in NASCAR. Only so much attention can be given to one driver who has struggled to hang with the middle of the pack.
Rather than give a half hearted go get em’ the 53-year old eight time winner said he did not believe Patrick was a racecar driver.
“Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs,” Petty said while on SPEED’s NASCAR RaceHub. “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.”
Was it a shot at Patrick or was Petty simply speaking of what he saw after all Petty did go on to admit he did not know what differentiated a driver from good and great.
What Petty has seen is a driver who has made 86 starts between the top two series in NASCAR and recorded a lone top five finish while driving in premier equipment.
Both of Patrick’s two career poles came at Daytona – a track which drivers say has more to do with what is under the hood then what is behind the wheel.
Patrick is learning about stock cars but she is doing it at the top level. At 31, Patrick is at the point in her life where drivers are identified as having the ability to win or simply make the pack.
So the question really becomes is it too late for Danica Patrick to be successful in NASCAR?
The marketing side of Danica Patrick has kept her relevant in NASCAR and will do so for longer than most of us can comprehend but there will come a point where the results will be required.