Richard Petty is not backing down from comments he made regarding Danica Patrick not being able to win a race at the Sprint Cup level, but did clarify that it is unfair that he is being labeled a sexist.
Petty told a crowd at the Toronto Motorsports Expo last weekend that the only way Patrick could win a race, is, “If everyone else stayed home,” and that she only gets the attention in NASCAR – because she is a woman.
“What’s unfair is the sexist part,” Petty said at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. “If her name had been Danny, OK, nobody would have said anything about it. So you all are bringing up the sexist part of it, not me.”
“It was definitely not sexist, OK? Hey look, I’ve been married 55 years to the same woman. So I am not a sexist by any ways. I love women.” Petty added.
Petty said he will not become ‘politically correct’ because of the backlash, saying that he would have to “lie to himself,” “I’m not going to do that,” he said
“I’m opinionated. You can listen to Kyle to figure that out.”
Patrick did not make a big deal of Petty’s comments, telling media on Thursday, “People are entitled to their own opinions and thats fine.” she said.
“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.”
Petty did not completely disqualify Patrick’s presence in NASCAR, reconfirming what he said in Canada, “This is a female deal that’s driving her. There’s nothing wrong with that, because that’s good PR for me. More fans come out, people are more interested in it. She has helped to draw attention to the sport, which helps everybody in the sport.”
Petty said there was little buzz going into the Daytona 500 until his comments came out. “Look at all the publicity NASCAR got and she got just for one little comment.”