Danica Patrick shrugged off the criticism she received from Kyle Petty, and she's doing the same after hearing what his father Richard, the seven-time NASCAR champion, said.
Earlier in the week, Petty said Patrick would only win in the Cup Series if "everyone else stayed home." Asked at Thursday's media day for the Sprint Cup Series about those comments, and Patrick made like a duck and let the water roll off her back.
"People have said things in the past, they're going to say things in the future," Patrick said Thursday morning during Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. "I still say the same thing: Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. People will judge what he said, whether they judge it well or not, and I'm just not going to (judge).
"The people that matter the most to me are my team, my sponsors and those little 3-year-old kids that run up to you and want a great big hug and say they want to grow up to be like you. That's the stuff I really focus on."
Last year, Kyle Petty said that Patrick was "not a race car driver."
Engaging in a war of words about her career would be a foolish move for Patrick. That's why she stays above the fray. She's aware of her career record in relation to her popularity, and if she starts jabbing back, it'll look quite, well, petty. (Unintentional pun, promise.)
Plus, there's the adage of "any publicity is good publicity." Patrick is still the most recognizable driver outside of the NASCAR realm, and even negative comments continue to stoke the discussion and image that is Danica Patrick, NASCAR driver and celebrity. If she has a Speedweeks like she did in 2013, when she won the pole for the Daytona 500 and ran well during the race, the attention will only increase.
- - - - - - -