Legendary racer Richard Petty seriously doubts Danica Patrick will win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, saying she could only win "if everybody else stayed home."
“If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track,” Petty said in an interview, according to Wheels.ca
. “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.”
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Petty was in Toronto on Sunday for the Canadian Motorsports Expo.
The sport of NASCAR has changed a lot since Petty started driving in the '50s, he said, with more attention being paid to the series and the drivers than to actual racing.
“When NASCAR Cup racing first started, it was racing,” he told Wheels.ca. “Over a period of years, with our sponsorships, what we had to do for TV, to get the fans to come, the first thing you know is that the race is secondary, because all the rest of it is buildup, buildup, buildup. It’s sort of like, say, watching the Super Bowl; it was a lot more exciting watching the buildup than the game.
“The game just happened to break out in the middle of a good party,” Petty continued. “We’re not quite that far along but in order for us to do what we need to do on race day, the sponsorship and the fan stuff, we have to do all this other stuff.”
Patrick’s fans went online to argue the point, while others tweeted their agreement.
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