Petty: Danica Patrick is ‘just a marketing machine’

danica patrick
Kyle Petty, son of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, has publicly offered the coolest reception to date for Indycar driver Danica Patrick. The open-wheel series most successful female driver will compete in ARCA and the Nationwide series between her Indycar duties in 2010.

The transition to NASCAR from an open-wheel series is not easy but Patrick obviously likes her chances and has accepted the challenge. Former CART and F1 dirver Juan Pablo Montoya, who many consider an incredibly talented driver, has taken three years to come to terms with the stock car series. To that point, Petty makes no bones about his feelings on Patrick’s foray in the oval racing world:

“I think she can come here, but I look at [Dario] Franchitti, I look at Tony [Stewart] when he first came over from open wheel, I look at Juan [Pablo Montoya] and they are incredibly talented individuals,” Petty said. “Juan Montoya is probably, car control-wise, one of the most amazing human beings you’ve seen in a car and he struggled for three years at this level, and she’s not Juan Montoya.

“She’s not Dario Franchitti and she’s not Tony Stewart. She’s not really shown over there [in the Indy Racing League] and won races and done stuff over there numbers-wise. She’s just a marketing machine. Let’s look at the facts and be blunt about it.”

No one would contest the point that Danica Patrick has been a marketing sensation in Indycar and her impact on the series has been tremendous but can she make the translation to stock car racing? Petty isn’t so sure. You can read all of his thoughts here.

It may not be the warmest of receptions but at least Petty refrained from calling her an ‘appliance’ like F1 commercial rights boss Bernie Ecclestone suggested of women.

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