Earlier this week, Richard Petty had some strong comments directed towards Danica Patrick and her ability to win a stock car race at NASCAR’s highest level. Petty said that the only way the 31-year old driver could win a race is, “If everybody else stayed home.”
Patrick, who has remained calm in the past when she was faced with scrutiny regarding her driving ability, was asked about Petty’s comments at NASCAR Media Day on Thursday.
“You know, people have said things in the past, and they are going to say things in the future.” Patrick said.
” I still say the same thing that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and people are going to judge what he said whether they judge it well, or not, and I’m just not going to.”
Patrick said that you can’t try any harder in the car, “I think thats what every driver would tell you when someone questions your effort level, you can’t try any harder.”
Patrick won the pole for the Daytona 500, becoming the first woman to do so. She finished eighth in the famed race, but for much of the remainder of the 36-week schedule, she struggled.
“I can tell I’m giving it my all every single time I get in the car, whether I’m making a simple qualifying run, or making the actual qualifying run, or in the race, so, it is what it is.” Patrick said.
“People are entitled to their own opinions and thats fine.”
Last season it was Kyle Petty that had discouraging comments directed towards Patrick. “She has come a long way, but she is not a race car driver, and I don’t think she ever will be.”
When asked if she cared about Kyle’s comments she replied, ” “No, I really don’t care. I don’t.”
Patrick is focused on racing, and being a good role model, “The people that really matter the most to me are my team, my sponsors, and you know, those three year old kids that run up to you and want a great big hug and say they want to grow up and be just like you, that’s the stuff that I really focus on.”
Patrick is competing in The Sprint Unlimited on Saturday evening. Fans can vote for three aspects of the race, like how the drivers will start the race, how long each segment is, and the restart order for the final segment.