NASCAR legend and guy with an awesome mustache Richard Petty attended the Canadian Motorsports Expo in Toronto over the weekend, and nothing about that matters anymore, because someone asked him his thoughts on Danica Patrick and he answered without a care in the world. Specifically, Petty was asked if he thought that NASCAR’s first female driver to ever win a pole would ever seal the deal and become the first female to ever win a Cup series race. His answer is sure to have the Jezebel offices working overtime today.
“(Only) if everybody else stayed home,” said Petty, who started his NASCAR career in 1958 in a race at the long-gone Canadian National Exhibition Speedway in downtown Toronto. (Via the Toronto Star)
In Petty’s mind, I’m sure that all the boys had a good chuckle over this and maybe spat some tabacky juice in unison, but in reality, I assume that all of the reporters in the media scrum that Petty was addressing couldn’t wait to get to their laptops and create this week’s great, big non-Olympic media controversy. But they had to wait because Petty wasn’t done sticking his cowboy boots into his grizzled mouth.
“If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track,” said the seven-time Daytona 500 champion. “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.”
That’s all accurate, yes, because if she was just Dan Patrick, we’d all ask, “The racer or the radio guy?” and we’d never think about it again unless he won a race. But this is Danica, so we do like to talk about it more, because she was the first woman to ever win an IndyCar series race and that makes people, more specifically female fans, believe that she could be the first woman to win a NASCAR race. But yeah, I guess I can see why an icon and representative of the sport would want to take a huge macho dump all over that.
“When NASCAR Cup racing first started, it was racing,” he said. “Over a period of years, with our sponsorships, what we had to do for TV, to get the fans to come, the first thing you know is that the race is secondary, because all the rest of it is buildup, buildup, buildup.”
If the race is secondary and the buildup is more important, then Patrick is already bigger than Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon, because I’m only a casual NASCAR fan and I still know that people hate those guys more than any dumb babe who done revved up her pink engines.
“It’s sort of like watching the Super Bowl — it was a lot more exciting watching the buildup than the game. The game just happened to break out in the middle of a good party. We’re not quite that far along, but in order for us to do what we need to do on race day, the sponsorship and the fan stuff, we have to do all this other stuff.”
No, I’m pretty sure that people still care about the Super Bowl more than the BS in between plays. In fact, if you offered most NFL fans the chance to watch the Super Bowl without ads or their A-hole friend Darren trying to get people to bet on how many Cheetos he can fit in his mouth, they’d take it as quickly as it took Petty to discount Patrick’s career.
“It’s like us coming up here. There’s no racing around here right now, but we can go out and start advertising our sponsors. We can come to Canada and say our next race is Daytona, come on down and see us. It takes all of that to really make it work.”
“Ride your moose on down and bring that strong beer of yours, but don’t let your women drive, or you’ll be a week late for the race, after she’s done stopping to shop, birth babies and period all over the place.”
“Like I say, it’s become a show-time deal.”
And he’s right about it all. Patrick, or any driver for that matter, could win if nobody else showed up to race, and this is all good PR for NASCAR and Petty, regardless of what the outraged people think. The only person it sucks for is Patrick, because this quote will be brought up every time she fails to win. So she should just sit back and let the boys handle the important stuff like stiletto racing on Bethenny.
(Banner via Getty)