Danica Patrick has proven herself on the track a number of times, showing she can handle a race car with the best of her peers. However, her career--at least according to a guy who's been around long enough to see many launched on the track--seems to have stalled.
Richard Petty has long been vocal about his thoughts on Patrick and her abilities on the track, saying in 2014 that although she knows how to drive fast, that doesn't make her a race car driver. He also commented on the fact that she's a woman in a male-dominated sport, which can be viewed as a novelty.
“Where fans have bought into the hype of the marketing, to think she’s a race car driver. She can go fast, and I’ve seen her go fast. She drives the wheels off it when she goes fast…she’s not a race car driver. There’s a difference. The King always had that stupid saying, but it’s true, ‘Lots of drivers can drive fast, but very few drivers can race.’ Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs. She can go fast, but she can’t race," Petty said.
Petty had more to say after Sunday's Sprint Cup series, in which Danica placed 35th and suffered yet another crash. According to Racing Reference, Patrick has an average starting position of 22nd and an average finish position of 23rd, and she has only placed as high as the top ten.
Petty said over the weekend that Danica Patrick has gotten comfortable where she is, right in the middle, and refused to comment on what she needs to do in order to win, leading to speculation that he doesn't believe she ever will.
"She just settled in where she at. She ain't gotten no better or no worse," Petty said.
Danica hasn't responded to Petty's remarks, but she has received quite a bit of support online from fans, many of whom took to Instagram to tell her to shake off the outcome of the last race and focus on the next one.