The Frontstretch: Petty Bashing Patrick Is The Pot Calling The Kettle Black by Brett Poirier -- Tuesday July 2, 2013

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Petty Bashing Patrick Is The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Racing to the Point · Brett Poirier · Tuesday July 2, 2013


In an age when technology allows just about anybody to voice their opinion about anything, it’s more important than ever to check your sources. If I hear aliens are making their way toward earth and we are all doomed, it matters whether it’s someone from NASA telling me this, or if its coming from “Two-toed” Jimmy who is wearing his tinfoil hat on the corner.

Danica Patrick is an effective marketing machine. At least Kyle Petty got that part right when he trash talked about her this week.

So, when I heard last week that someone had bashed Danica Patrick, it wasn’t much of a surprise. After all, she has faced her share of criticism since coming over to NASCAR. But when I heard it was Kyle Petty who was giving the explanation between “somebody who can go fast” and a “race car driver,” I laughed probably about as hard as Danica did.

I can come up with a list of people who are more qualified to make those comments than Petty, and I think “Two-toed” Jimmy is on it. If there is anyone out there who should understand how difficult it is to make the grade in Sprint Cup, and how hard it must be for Danica right now, it’s Petty.

Patrick’s average finish this season is 25.6 — not great by any means. Kyle Petty’s average finish in the last year he won a Sprint Cup race in 1995 was 25.6. Petty raced — scratch that out, drove moderately fast — for the next 13 seasons after that in Cup without winning a race. In his final 13 seasons, he posted three top fives and only had a better average finish than rookie Danica has now in five of those 13 seasons.

Patrick is a poor qualifier right now, but Petty should have had one of the provisional spots named after him. And if you’re wondering how Petty stayed in the sport for that long with that kind of performance, look no further than his legendary father, Richard Petty, who was at least part of the ownership group of Kyle’s race team during those years when he would’ve otherwise been on the sidelines.

Kyle wasn’t a bad pitchman, either. Although, I wouldn’t quite call him a “marketing machine,” like he tabbed Patrick.

“Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs,” Petty said. “She can go fast, but she can’t race. I think she’s come a long way, but she’s still not a race car driver. And I don’t think she’s ever going to be a race car driver.”

I don’t think the “marketing machine” part was the part anyone took issue with, including Danica. It would be hard to argue against. The part about Patrick not being a race car driver, though, was out of line. She is new to stock cars still, but Danica Patrick has always been a race car driver.

Much has been said this season about Patrick’s performance not being up to par — at least not matching the equipment she is in — and those arguments would carry more validity if she wasn’t less than halfway through her rookie season. How come we aren’t discussing why Ricky Stenhouse Jr. can’t keep up with Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle?

Stenhouse Jr. — the two-time defending Nationwide champion — only leads Patrick by six points in the rookie standings because Patrick has been matching his pace lately, and Stenhouse doesn’t drive for Xxxtreme Motorsports here, he drives for Roush Fenway. In the last four races, Stenhouse has only gained eight more points than Patrick.

And the truth is, if Patrick and Stenhouse both maintain their current pace and don’t show signs of improvement, it’s a safe bet that Stenhouse will be shown the door before Patrick because of the sponsorship and marketability she brings to the table.

But Patrick already is showing signs of improvement. A flat tire at Sonoma and an untimely caution flag after she pitted at Kentucky (was on lead lap), cost her better finishes and two more chances at beating Stenhouse. Petty is right in saying that Danica has a long, long way to go. It takes her half a race to finally get comfortable enough to run top-20 pace. That’s something she needs to learn how to do when they unload the car for practice on Friday. And her qualifying hasn’t been much better. You’d think Kyle Petty was in the car sometimes.

I think we just need to give her some time before was bash her and say things like,” I don’t she’s ever going to be a race car driver.”

That statement would mean something coming from Tony Stewart, a three-time champion and the owner of her team. It’s a joke coming from Kyle Petty. Sources matter. Petty should be the first person to be able to identify with what Patrick is going through, not the first person to throw her in the mud. Tommy Lee Jones must’ve hit Petty with the neuralyzer recently and erased his memory of ever being a driver.

During Saturday’s TNT telecast, Petty stood by his words about Patrick earlier in the week. At least he’s not backing down.

I just hope that this week he explains whether he was “somebody who could go fast” or a “racecar driver” because I am dying to know the answer, and I could always use a good laugh.

Contact Brett Poirier

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


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07/02/2013 06:24 AM

If anything has been proven by Kyle’s comments, its been how desperately people will grasp at the lowest common denominator when trying to defend something they dont agree with.

The people bringing up Kyle’s career stats really dont have a leg to stand on in their argument as he’s even said he wasnt a great driver.

What he does have is the experience of spending his whole life involved with the sport, and I think just maybe you learn a little bit about something when its been your life and you’ve been there through at least three generations of seeing drivers come and go among the legends of the sport.

I have to wonder if people would have brought up Richard Childress’s driving career had he said the same thing as Kyle did? I mean really, do you have to be a great driver in order to know one, or perhaps you just have to have some intelligence?

Is Rick Hendrick qualified to assess driver talent? I don’t see his name on any trophies as a driver…

07/02/2013 06:31 AM

Brett , you are full of it !! Kyle said he was NOT a race car driver either in the interview .

07/02/2013 07:03 AM

Geez folks…they’re ALL race car drivers…this is the dumbest arguement I’ve ever heard! I can get in a car and “go fast”… But I can’t get in a car and drive anywhere near the levels Petty and Patrick can.. or be paid to do it. It was/is their jobs..they may not have done..or be doing the highest level.. But they’re race car drivers…just check their tax forms under “occupation”!

07/02/2013 08:01 AM

Danica is not and will not be a driver. She’s been able to avoid finishing positions in the 30’s and 40’s by staying out longer than start-and-parks, Lucky dogs, Hendrick’s engine big horsepower, and staying between the infield grass and that big concrete thing on the outside. That’s not much of an accomplishment for someone who’s been “steering” something since she was a kid. Given that criteria, I guess Logano and Larson are super-duper-wonder-racers as they’re both a lot younger and already have more wins.

Yup, what a driver.

07/02/2013 08:16 AM

Kyle is probably the only person that is asociated with NASCAR that is saying something other then what NASCAR wants them to say. As for the rest of the annoucers if NASCAR says blue is orange then they all agree blue is orange. Right or wrong it is refreshing to hear a different point of view

07/02/2013 08:36 AM

Although Kyle was no superstar NASCAR driver he still has 8 more victories at the Cup level than Danicant. When she reaches 8 career victories maybe he should shut up.

07/02/2013 08:38 AM

Brett you lost any credibility you might have had with this article. It means you are one of the “Throne sniffers” towing the company line. “Princess Trick Pony” is nothing but marketing taken to the extreme. Kyle is exactly correct.

07/02/2013 08:39 AM

The writer of this one sided article has probably only seen about 20 races. Kyle was a good driver who sacrificed the last part of his career to help get his sons career going. Kyle spent the last several years driving bad cars. I’ve been a fan for 40 years and agree with Kyle. With the equipment that she has to race with she should be doing a lot better.

07/02/2013 08:42 AM

I agree with everyone except Lydia and Brett here. The fact that you can’t defend your girl’s record and have to resort to character assassination clearly shows that your arguments are weak. If you had a strong argument, you wouldn’t have to criticize Kyle for what he said. If you like Princess Sparkle Pony, that’s fine-but criticism about her record is completely legitimate, and those of you who trot out various forms of propaganda to try to defend her are clearly showing you don’t have a leg to stand on.

07/02/2013 08:46 AM

All you need to look at is how her last two rides are doing. Regan Smith has the #7 Nationwide car leading the points and James Hinchcliffe has won more Indy car races this year than anyone else in the GoDaddy car.

07/02/2013 09:30 AM

spot1 = spot on!

as the author says, everyone has an opinion.

i’d like to add that those opinions can be based on “feelings’ or a “track record.”

past history and current trends do not show that danica will amount to much in terms of race results (without a lot of luck or other help.) perceptions and feelings.. well that’s another story, but you might have better results playing the lottery than hoping on danica to be a top racing talent, (in my opinion.)

07/02/2013 10:05 AM

Hey, I don’t normally agree with much Kyle says but he is pretty much right on this issue. Danica won I believe one race in Indy Car and I believe that was a fuel mileage race. Danica’s Boyfriend Stenhouse seems to be doing better than her even in inferior equipment. I believe this past weekend he qualified better and finished better. Sure, Dancia might eventually win a few races even Kyle has won eight races so when Danica gets her eight wins then I guess you can trash Kyle. But, the fact remains that a man would not have been given the opportunities that Danica is getting. She won no Nationwide Races and I don’t know if she even led very few laps. She usually finishes a lap or more down depending on the track and cautions. I just don’t see much about her career to get excited about and it has nothing to do with her gender. Like Kyle, you have to call a spade a spade and Danica has shown nothing that would indicate she will be a big player in Nascar on a regular basis.

07/02/2013 10:09 AM

Steve, Kyle Petty did not spend the last 13 years of his career driving bad cars. He had plenty of teammates come through who were winning races when he couldn’t crack the top 30.

I agree that the last person who should be taking shots at Danica is someone who has been through basically the exact same thing. I think he’s just bitter that she’s driving in Cup and he’s not.

Bill B
07/02/2013 10:24 AM

I am deeply offended for all two-toed people and won’t be coming back to Frontstretch. You five-toed people think you are so great.
No one would have a problem with Danica if it wasn’t for the media and hype being jammed down our throats and things like the All-star race where they catered the rules to fit her inability to stay on the lead lap.
Let’s face it. She sucks. There have been lots of cup drivers that have sucked through the years. It’s just that none of them got the coverage that the princess has gotten and therefore none of them got all the fan hate. It comes as a package. If you suck AND get hyped you get a lot of negative feedback from fans. At least she is getting rich from sucking. Not many people can say that.

Michael in SoCal
07/02/2013 11:08 AM

Danica doesn’t suck as a driver, but the amount of media coverage (all coverage, good and bad) is just overwhelming for a driver 27th in the standings halfway through the season. When the amount of media coverage Danica gets is similar to what Casey Mears or David Gilliland (the two drivers who’ve started all races and are closest to her in the standings), then maybe the driving will be doing the talking instead of the bikini pictures and commercials.

07/02/2013 11:13 AM

Well the last laugh is on Petty! He constantly complains Danica gets way to much press! Ha…talk about a media blitz…it’s been the talk of sports and “just” news media all week…and Kyle handed to Danica on a silver platter! I think Danica needs to send Petty alittle thank you note! As far as Patrick’s record…I just think we should wait until she has a few years under her belt..or leaves the sport..before we try to make all these silly comparisons…..

07/02/2013 11:14 AM

Ok I’m a little tired of people defending Kyle Petty. Yes Kyle has 8 wins… did he win his rookie year no. Did he absolutely luck into his first win yes. Was he having to earn everything to get to the cup level. No he was an overpriveledged kid with a famous name. Kyle couldnt even use his famous name to keep from running Petty Motorsports into the ground. His father had to take it back. As far as the all star rules… let’s not forget those rules were implemented at a time when the NASCAR god himself Dale Jr couldnt get into the main event. As far as the media being shoved down our throats… we have no choice but to listen to that arrogant loud mouthed wannabe.

Ken Smith
07/02/2013 11:33 AM

Come on people – at least give the girl a year of cup experience before you start trashing her! You can look up some of the records of some of the current top drivers first year in cup that aren’t so good either. It takes time to learn these various tracks. Also to the guy who said Kyle “sacrificed” his last three years in cup top get his son started – I’m not sure Kyle was even still driving when his son started out – and Kyle was so bad his family didn’t even what him driving for them at that time – they fired him!!

07/02/2013 11:47 AM

This all has to be Kyle Busch’s fault somehow.

When I come up with a reason I’ll let you know….

Carl D.
07/02/2013 12:00 PM

I’m not sure Petty got the memo that he’s not supposed to criticise any drivers because he wasn’t a top tier driver himself. He’s paid for analysis and that’s what he provides, whether you agree with him or not.

You don’t have to be a fish to know what a fish looks like.

Michael in SoCal
07/02/2013 12:15 PM

Carl D is totally correct. Kyle Petty’s entitled to his opinion. In fact, he’s paid by TNT to give us his opinion.

07/02/2013 12:43 PM

Ricky Stenhouse happens to possess several Nationwide wins and 2 championships in the Nationwide series…. that would be a picture of earning a ride

Carl D.
07/02/2013 12:43 PM

Kyle Petty may not have been the driver his father was, but Danica Patrick is no Ryan Newman either.

07/02/2013 12:47 PM

Ron, im just saying I think Kyle could have done better in the same equipment that Danica has and probably a lot of drivers could. She is given the chance for one reason and thats money. How well did Felix Sabetes do when Kyle left to form PE2. Kyle had a decent year in 1997 and when he merged with Petty enterprises things really went south. Im just saying kyle was a good driver when he was in good cars.

07/02/2013 01:40 PM

Wow. The media (including Kyle Petty) needs to get a life. Is there nothing else to write about or comment about other than Danica Patrick. It’s as boring as watching JJ win. As Plato said “He was a wise man who invented beer.” Maybe everyone on this thread (including me) should have a few and chill. Peace out

Phil Dirt
07/02/2013 01:47 PM

Did you see the interview or just read excerpts? Kyle called himself a journeyman driver and said that if he knew the way to get from driver to racer, he would have done it. Also, don’t you think many drivers would be thrilled to have a career with eight wins and five Top 10 point finishes like Kyle? Not too shabby…

07/02/2013 02:00 PM

Stenhouse is in his first year as a cup driver. He is #20 in points. Danica is seven points behind him in 27th. And, Stenhouse has won nationwide races and championships and Danica has no wins much less a championship and has led very, very few if any laps in Nascar Competition. Forget gender, Danica so far in Nascar is very mediocre at best and there is just no other way to spin it.

07/02/2013 02:25 PM

If Danica Patrick was just ol’ Dan Patrick (not the ESPN anchor), he’d be just another forgettable driver who’d have lost the ride by now. KP was correct in saying she’s a marketing machine because, if she was a he, there’d be absolutely zero interest.

07/02/2013 02:39 PM

you are taking Kyle Petty way too seriously. Although, Danica hasn’t proved herself yet.

07/02/2013 02:44 PM

First, Roush made a huge mistake moving Little Ricky up to the 17 when Roush made another huge mistake letting Kenseth go. And look where Kenseth is now! Roush isn’t even a third tier team.

As for The Media Princess, I only have one wish. Give it just one race, one race is all I ask, and give another young lady a shot at driving good equipment. Heck, couldn’t Childress pull some strings and give Johanna a shot at his #33 team in Nationwide? I am willing to bet if you put “The Girl Next door”, as I have heard her called, in Danica’s car, then you would see a real talent. But, it’s like why Danica was moved up from Nationwide to Cup this year. Last year, when Johanna was in the same race as Danica (Remember, Johanna doesn’t have funding to run a full schedule), she was constantly finishing ahead of, and up-staging, The Princess. Don’t think the marketing people didn’t notice that! That’s why she was moved up before she was ready.

Big Guy
07/02/2013 03:31 PM

When Danica is involved in the same type of race that Kyle Petty and Davey Allison had in 1992 at the Winston, then she will be a racer.

07/02/2013 03:36 PM

Ummm Kyle has 8 wins and finished top 5 in points more than once…..Danica has what? When she has 8 wins you can talk pal.

Big Guy
07/02/2013 03:59 PM

One more point. In that same 1992 Winston, not only was Kyle showing himself to be a Racer, he took Earnhardt out in the process.

Danica would do that? I think not.

07/02/2013 04:34 PM

Great mention of the “One Hot Night” in ’92. It wasnt often that you would see Sr smiling after spinning out on the last lap of a race, but he was that night and apparently high fived Kyle after the race.

Kyle was on the brink of becoming a Racer in ’92 and ’93 but it just didnt pan out after those years.

He was the hottest driver at the end of the ’92 season and very interestingly would have won the Winston Cup that year had the Chase format been used.

Danica isnt even close to the level of driver Kyle was. I highly doubt she will 8 wins. As pointed out by spot1, all her old teams got much better as soon as she vacated the rides.

07/02/2013 05:00 PM

Kyle Petty: “I was a Journeyman driver and Dannica looks like a Journeyman driver to me.”

Brett Poirier: “that’s the pot calling the kettle black!”

Readers: “Brett, you didn’t do any research before you wrote this”

07/02/2013 08:30 PM

When Danica leads 490 laps in a 492 lap race like Kyle (not Busch) did she could be considered a racer. Kyle in a good car won races. Danica in a good car isn’t even close.
Kyle just said what knowledgeable fans are saying.

07/02/2013 09:23 PM

Wow, it appears that Brett got himself a huge ole 64 ounce big gulp of Nascar koolaid. Kyle Petty may have been…uh…less than stellar as a driver but he knows the business. You don’t need Payton Manning to inform you that Ryan Leaf sucked as a NFL quarterback, even Jamarcus Russell could tell you that. Point is Down-a-lapica is not a good cup driver. The only drivers I’ve seen coming to her defense are Tony Stewart(her teamowner), Dale Jr. (former teamowner and satellite teamate), Kevin Harvick (future teamate), and Jeff Gordon (satellite teamate). She should get the press coverage befitting a 27th place in the points driver.

Brian France Sucks
07/02/2013 11:12 PM

Last time I checked Kyle Petty has won actual points races in a major racing series. Guess who hasn’t?

And Kyle’s last dozen years were spent driving sub-par equipment. The Petty ride(s) didn’t do squat with anyone in any of them, save for a two wins by Bobby Hamilton and a win by John Andretti, all coming at short tracks. Danica is in top notch equipment, and will continue to be. Her finishes in the good stuff are similar to Kyle’s in the bad stuff.

And finally, Kyle Petty does not toe the NA$CAR/Fox corporate line. He calls out Patrick. He calls out Jimmie Johnson for whining about restarts. Kyle and Wally are exactly what the NA$CAR broadcasts need. They’re the anti-Waltrip Larry MAC Reynolds crew. In other words, the best TV crew currently doing NA$CAR races.

07/03/2013 09:49 AM

Since when is she in top notch equipment? The whole team only has 1 win and none of them are very impressive this year. Where’s the top notch? Let’s not forget Dale Jr is in top notch equipment too and most of the time he’s an also ran. Because she’s a woman is why most people are complaining. She’s put on a different schedule and expected to do more than any first year male. What about the Dillon boys? I don’t see anyone bashing their attempts at cup racing. Austin was basically in the way Sunday. Oh and by the way in top notch equipment too. Afterall doesn’t Finch get his engines from Hendrick too? No the Dillons are male so we will give them time

Matt L
07/03/2013 10:23 AM

The Petty-Patrick comparison was well done. Of course, all drivers have to be marketing machines today to keep their rides. But just as Patrick can be thankful for GoDaddy $$ for her fast ride to the top, Petty can be grateful for his last name keeping him in the sport for so long.

07/03/2013 12:16 PM

Sal, I knew someone would blame Kyle Busch but, I swear it’s not his fault. Ken you are so right about Jo having more talent than Princess Sparkle Pony. And if Kyle Petty had been given half a chance in the good stuff I sure he would have had more wins.

JD in NC
07/03/2013 01:25 PM

I get so tired of hearing the “people don’t like her because she’s a woman BS!” I really have nothing against her personally, but I am so sick of the media pushing a 27th place driver like she is the second coming of Dale Sr. Its kinda like if the announcers had spent a good part of the Sonoma race talking about how great Ron Fellows was (he finished 22nd by the way). Most race fans would be saying what the hell are you talking about him for he’s running no better than mid pack, then suppose you had a few fans come to his defense saying “you just don’t like him because he’s Canadian.” What!?!Its the same with Danica. You might as well say people don’t like her because she drives a green car, or because her birthday is in March. Most people simply don’t like her because we have to hear about her ad nauseum from the like of DW who should shut up already. You can talk about her when she’s running near the front, but unless you start giving David Regan, Josh Wise, Travis Kvapil, etc the same airtime, I don’t want to hear about it.

Kevin in SoCal
07/03/2013 01:30 PM

Mike, no one complains about the Dillons because the media doesnt focus on them and constantly talk about them, like they do with Patrick. When they get the amount of media attention that Danica and Dale Jr get without the results to back it up, then you can say the Dillons are a problem.

07/03/2013 03:09 PM

JD while I do agree that we hear too much about her my point is Dale Jr gets the same media attention and most of the time it doesnt matter where he finishes,yet noone complains about golden mediochrity. the ad nauseum is why I cant stand jr. Kevin….watch a nationwide race the Dillons are only slightly above avg and we have to hear about how great and wonderful they are every race. Lik,e I said noone is complaining about them because they are male and yes I do expect them to EVENTUALLY be good. Lets face it there aint one of us that can do what any of these people can do from our armchairs, and that includes the insufferable Petty. so really none of us have an intelligent say about anything because none of us have been there

07/03/2013 06:04 PM

“Lets face it there aint one of us that can do what any of these people can do from our armchairs, and that includes the insufferable Petty.”

Mike, any validity in your point was lost as soon as you added Petty’s name. Even if he is sitting in the broadcast booth at this point the fact is that he has raced in the top-tier level so I believe he’s earned the right to call it like he sees it.

You may also notice that since the arrival of Danica the coverage of Dale Jr. has decreased. You can even look back in the archives of Frontstretch and see how many articles involved Dale Jr. The argument wasn’t too different than Danica as Dale Jr. pretty much hung out mid-pack yet he receieved alot of coverage. I will say that the media, by and large, has forgotten how to cover an entire field of cars around the same time that Jeff Gordon came on the scene and NASCAR really took off. Look back at some of the late 90’s early 00 races and you can see the bulk of the coverage was on the 24. I’ve nothing against the Jeff, Dale Jr. or even Danica for that matter. I do have an issue of the coverage that Danica and Dale Jr. receive as it exceeds their on-track performance.

As said by others, put Jo in a car and see what she can do. I’m actually very surprised that a sponsor hasn’t come foward. A good marketing department would quickly recognize that with Danica running as “well” as she has can you imagine what would happen if someone like Jo came in and out ran Danica. How excited would GoDaddy be at that point?

07/05/2013 08:44 AM

Without question, when Kyle had a car that was top tier he could race.

I do question exactly how top tier Danica’s stuff is. Stewart and Newman have not exactly set the woods on fire this year either.

Gary nelson gave Kyle Petty the best equipment there was. In fact, it was so good that when he became NASCAR’s top cop, he told Sabates not to even bring the car they had ran at Dover because he’d have to disqualify it sight unseen…

Once Nelson left Sabates Kyle showed that he could not race equal equipment. Sorry, but Kyle was not a racer, he drove racecars. I think Adam was a racer and Kyle knew it so he did let much of his later career slip in anticipation of the future.

Kyle is right that Danica is not a racer, now.
Where I disagree with him is as to whether or not she ever will be. It is simply too soon to say.

To the author:

You are welcome to your opinion, even when that opinion is borne out of poor research and a lack of understanding of the subject you are attempting to write about.