For all the attention she has brought to auto racing, there’s been one knock on Danica Patrick and it’s a big one: She hasn’t won.
The latest shot on her inability to win in NASCAR is Richard Petty, the legendary driver who said that Patrick would win in the Sprint Cup Series only “if everybody else stayed home.”
Petty, NASCAR’s seven-time champion and owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, did say that he liked the attention she brought to the sport and to her Stewart-Haas racing team, so there’s that.
“If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track,” Petty said (via 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.”
Patrick has traded on her looks, particularly in provocative GoDaddy ads, but has not had much success behind the wheel. In her first full season in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series last year, she won the pole for the Daytona 500 and finished eighth, but didn’t have another top 10 finish. She has won only one major series race, the 2008 Indy Japan 300, during her IndyCar racing days. As a rookie in 2005, she finished fourth in the Indianapolic 500 — the best finish ever for a woman.