Danica Patrick confronted booing fans after last Friday's qualifying for the Pocono 400 in Pennsylvania when autograph-seeking fans were turned away by her security.
Patrick, who had signed autographs before qualifying at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, did not afterward along with other drivers, USA Today reported. It appeared that the fans booed all drivers who did not sign autographs after qualifying.
Patrick, though, decided to confront fans in an exchange that was captured on Facebook Live, noted USA Today.
"Since I'm old, instead of taking the booing, I want to tell you, I'm doing the very best I can," Patrick told the fans, according to USA Today. "If you're a real fan, you know that I'm not just like…my job is not to sign autographs, right?
"My job is to drive a car and to tell the crew chief what's going on. I don't appreciate the booing. It hurts my feelings. I'm a (expletive) person, you know what I mean? I'm a person, too. I have feelings. When you boo me, it hurts my feelings. Please just be supportive fans. I'll do everything I can. …I can only do so much. …So please understand that."
Kevin Skiver, of CBS Sports, wrote that while Patrick may feel bad about being booed, taking on fans is rarely a wise move.
"… Although it's completely fair to not want to be booed for walking out to her car, NASCAR is defined by fans as much as any other sport," Skiver wrote for CBS Sports. "Incidents such as this one where fans feel like they're being neglected by drivers will rarely pan out well for the driver, particularly one that needs sponsors. While Patrick is undoubtedly under a lot of stress, especially on race day, drivers are expected to remain the face of their team to the fans, whether that's fair or not."
The Sporting News pointed out that Patrick earlier lost her sponsorship with Nature's Bakery in a contract dispute and has not found a replacement. She started 24th in the Pocono 400 and finished 16th, noted USA Today.
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