Danica Patrick works for Tony Stewart. She works for Stewart-Haas racing, which means that off track Tony Stewart is her boss, and on the track the two are teammates. Tony Stewart has finally commented on what NASCAR legend Richard Petty had to say about his driver and teammate, Danica Patrick.
“I think that (a race) would settle it once and for all — maybe get him to shut up a little bit, too,” Stewart said. “… I will supply the cars. If he wants to race her, I’ll make sure they have exactly the same setup in the car and give him the chance. He can drive one of my 14 cars, I don’t care”.
The moderator of the conversation, PRN’s Doug Rice, tried to suggest that Danica Patrick, if she won, should obtain the checkered flag and have Richard Petty sign it for her. To that comment, Tony Stewart said, “If I were her, I’d take if over there and cram it up his ass,” as the crowd erupted. “But that’s just me“. The conversation took place in front of a live audience at an Outback Steakhouse in the shadow of the Daytona International Speedway. Outback Steakhouse is a primary sponsor for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Richard Petty had recently appeared at the Canadian Motorsports Expo in Toronto and said that Danica Patrick could only win a NASCAR race “if everyone else stayed home“. Richard’s son Kyle Petty is a former driver and television analyst. Kyle Petty said during the 2013 season that Danica Patrick was “not a ” and would never would be since she was just a “marketing machine”.
The 76 year old legend did give Danica Patrick credit for bringing attention to NASCAR, in his own way at least. “If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a. 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”.
To Danica Patrick’s credit, she brushed off the comments from Richard Petty. “People have said things in the past, they’re going to say things in the future. I still say the same thing: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. People will judge what he said, whether they judge it well or not, and I’m just not going to (judge). The people that matter the most to me are my team, my sponsors and those little 3-year-old kids that run up to you and want a great big hug and say they want to grow up to be like you. That’s the stuff I really focus on”.
After blowing engines during Saturday’s practice, both Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick will be starting Sunday’s Daytona 500 from the back of the field.