Johnson Domination Foiled As Kenseth Racks Up No. 4 Sprint Cup Win

Matt Kenseth’s Joe Gibbs Racing team made a bold decision on the final pit stop to keep him out front with worn tires. As fate would have it, as the race ended improbably, that was the right move.

Over the years there have been many NASCAR Sprint Cup races in which the outcome seems so obvious fans may make a quick dash to the parking lot to beat the traffic – or many others at home may switch television stations.

The thinking is simple: This race is over. The driver who is in the lead has been there for most of the event and, with laps dwindling, he isn’t likely to be overtaken.

But then, shockingly and suddenly, he is. And when the checkered flag falls, he’s well behind the improbable winner.

This, too, has happened many times in NASCAR over the years and it occurred again in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson so dominated the race that virtually no one thought he would, or could, lose. He led 182 of the race’s 267 laps – sometimes by a margin of two to three seconds.

But his unlikely downfall came on the restart from the race’s ninth caution period.

Brian Vickers slammed the wall to force the yellow flag. Johnson, the leader, came into the pits for just two tires. It was a logical move. Such tire strategy had kept him in the lead all day.

But not this time. Matt Kenseth pitted for gas only. He was going to attempt to finish the race on worn tires. The call was made by his crew chief, Jason Ratcliff.

It seemed to be a desperation move. While Kenseth would indeed be the leader when the race restarted, what chance did he stand against rivals with fresher tires?

The race restarted on lap 248 and before the cars could reach the first turn, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet spun out of control.

It was an unbelievable turn of events. But, apparently, Johnson could not keep pace with Kenseth. In fact, he accused the Joe Gibbs Racing driver of deliberately slowing down and causing a backup.

Brad Keselowski was involved in an early multicar wreck that shoved him out of the top 10 in points and made his defense of the 2012 championship more difficult.

But NASCAR rules decree the race leader – in this case Kenseth – controls the restart. He leads the field and sets the pace, period.

So Kenseth powered into the lead as the 10th caution period restarted on lap 250.

That his tires were far more worn than anyone else’s did not matter. Ratcliff’s strategy worked. It’s almost certain he figured out that in today’s NASCAR, clean air means more than new tires.

Kenseth went on to win for the first time at Kentucky – which has had three different winners in its first three Sprint Cup events – and for the fourth time this season, more than any other driver.

“I didn’t roll the dice, Jason did,” Kenseth said. “I thought he was slightly crazy when that happened.

“I didn’t think there was any way that we were going to hold on for that win. He made the right call at the right time and those guys got it done.”

As for the final restart Kenseth professed he did only what he thought he should. He maintained he didn’t deliberately do anything to gain an advantage.

“I don’t know, I didn’t see the last restart except for where I was at,” Kenseth said. “I don’t know what happened to him. Jimmie definitely had the best car all day. He was class of the field.

“I got through some gears there pretty good and was able to clear him there in turns one and two.  I’m not sure what happened behind me.”

Restarts, especially late in a race, have proven to be Johnson’s Achilles Heel this season. Kentucky was not the first race in which he handed over certain victory to someone else because of miscalculation or errant fortune.

But at Kentucky, Johnson came roaring back from his mishap. After a four-tire change he charged from 25

to ninth over the final 17 laps.

“I don’t know,” Johnson said. “We were kind of in an awkward situation in that restart there.

“And then we were like three and four wide going in the corner, then something happened with the air and just kind of turned me around.

“Unfortunate, but at least we rallied back for a good finish. Kenseth broke the pace car speed, which you aren’t supposed to, but, they aren’t calling guys on that – so I need to start trying that in the future.”

It’s fairly certain NASCAR does not agree with Johnson’s assessment.

However, Johnson’s late-race rebound helped keep him in first place in points, 38 ahead of Carl Edwards.

Kenseth, meanwhile, remains in fifth place, 82 out of first – but his four wins in his first year with Gibbs virtually assure him a place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

“I dreamed about this kind of season but I probably didn’t imagine that would be realistic,” Kenseth said. “Like I said, it’s been incredible.

We’ve had some moments that tested us this season already and obviously it’s great to have the four wins.

“Hopefully, we can keep it rolling. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Past Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski was involved in a major wreck early that ultimately dropped him to a 33-place finish.

The defending Cup champion fell from ninth to 13 in points, presently out of the Chase and without a victory this season.

While Johnson remains in control of the championship battle so far, given the evidence at Kentucky and elsewhere this season, some have reached this conclusion:

Perhaps the only thing that keeps Johnson from a sixth title is, well, Johnson himself.

Preece Scores Comeback Win At Riverhead

Preece Scores Comeback Win At Riverhead

Wins Third Consecutive Whelen Modified Tour Event

See video

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – Ryan Preece is officially on a roll. The young driver scored his third consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win of the season Saturday night in the Hoosier Tire 200 at Riverhead Raceway.

The Berlin, Conn., driver began the race on the front row, overtaking pole winner Ron Silk on Lap 44. A wreck on lap 95, however, knocked him out of the top 10, eventually forcing him to pit row for damage. Preece would battle back in the second half, working his way back up to the front row on Lap 183, alongside then race leader Ted Christopher. The two would battle it out over the next 10 laps until a late spin-out by Christopher on lap 195 would give Preece the lead for good, pushing the race to 207laps on the quarter-mile. 

With the win, Preece becomes the first Whelen Modified Tour driver to win three races in a row since Christopher did it spanning the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He’s the first driver to pull the feat off in the same season since Donny Lia did it in 2007. 

Saturday also marked the second consecutive Whelen Modified Tour victory for Preece at Riverhead. He also won in the tour’s lone trip to the track last season. It’s Preece’s third career victory overall at Riverhead.

Eric Goodale crossed the finish line behind Preece, recording his first top five of 2013 and second of his career. John Beatty Jr., Shawn Solomito and Mike Stefanik round out the best five finishers. 

Woody Pitkat, Ken Heagy, Frank Vigliarolo Jr., Bryon Chew and Ed Flemke Jr. completed the top 10.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will race next in the Town Fair Tire 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 13. 

RESULTS | LAP-BY-LAP RECAP | AUDIO: POST-RACE INTERVIEW WITH RACE WINNER RYAN PREECE | AUDIO: POST-RACE INTERVIEW WITH ERIC GOODALE & JOHN BEATTY JR.

nwmt_062913_ryan-preece_car_on_track.jpg

Ryan Preece and the East West Marine/Sophie’s Rest No. 16 race past the competition at Riverhead Raceway. Courtesy Mike Stobe/Getty Images for NASCAR

QUALIFYING: Richards Sizzles In Monterrey

QUALIFYING: Richards Sizzles In Monterrey

First Pole of 2013; 14th In Series Career

MONTERREY, Mexico – It took eight tries but Homero Richards finally won his first NASCAR Toyota Series pole of the 2013 season on Saturday at Autódromo Monterrey in qualifying for the Regia 240.

On a day when temperatures in the cars topped 104 degrees, Richards worked his way around the 1.988-mile road course in 71.674 seconds for an average speed of 99.852 mph, earning his 14th series pole. The Mexico City native has never won a race in Monterrey, but hopes to repeat his last performance starting from the pole, a win in the 2012 season finale at Mexico City.

Rogelio López, a two-time winner at the track, will join Richards on the front row after posting a time of 71.872 seconds (99.577 mph). A trio of Monterrey natives round out the top five with Rafael Martínez recording the third-fastest time of 71.920 seconds (99.511 mph), followed by Abraham Calderón and Daniel Suárez both recording a time of 71.924 seconds (99.505 mph). 

Rounding out the top-10 qualifiers was Rubén Rovelo, Hugo Oliveras, Rubén Pardo, José Luis Ramírez and Jorge Goeters. 

The cars qualified in groups with three cars per group.

The Regia 240 is set to get underway on Sunday at 12:45 p.m. CST.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

QUALIFYING: Silk On Point At Riverhead

QUALIFYING: Silk On Point At Riverhead

Eighth Career Whelen Tour Pole, First At Long Island Bullring

See video

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – Ron Silk has found the fast way around Riverhead Raceway.

Fastest in afternoon practice, Silk followed that effort up with the Coors Light Pole Award for tonight’s Hoosier Tire 200 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.

Silk, from Norwalk, Conn., was the last of 28 cars to go out in qualifying. On his second and final lap he topped Ryan Preece with a fast time of 11.890 seconds (75.694 mph) for his eighth career pole. It was his first in eight Whelen Modified Tour starts at Riverhead.

Silk will vie for his first Riverhead tour win later tonight, but the winner of the two previous events on the 2013 schedule – Preece – will start alongside him when the Hoosier Tire 200 goes green. Preece posted a fast lap of 11.919 (75.510).

The second row for the Hoosier Tire 200 will include Donny Lia and Eric Goodale. John Beatty Jr., Matt Hirschman, Doug Coby, Shawn Solomito, Timmy Solomito and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.

Coby, the reigning Whelen Modified Tour champ, had his throttle stick following his second qualifying lap and wrecked hard into the Turn 1 wall that resulted in heavy damage to his car. His status for tonight has yet to be determined.

The Hoosier Tire 200 set for a green flag at approximately 8:30 p.m.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Rain postpones Quaker State 400

NBA Draft, 2013 – First Round
The first round of the 2013 NBA Draft is complete – who went where?

Rain postpones Quaker State 400
http://www.foxsportsohio.com/story/Rain-postpones-Quaker-State-400?blockID=916387&feedID=3724
http://feeds.pheedo.com/feedout/syndicatedContent_categoryId_167
FOXSports.com News for NASCAR
FOXSports.com Top Ranked Headlines Syndication Feed
http://www.foxsports.com/fe/img/foxsports_logo_52x39.jpg

Penske’s back, shoots down rumors

SPARTA, Ky.

Eleven hours before the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers meeting, Roger Penske was enjoying the La Dolce Vita.

The Captain and his clan were celebrating wife Kathy’s birthday throughout Montenegro, Croatia and Venice.

IT ADDS UP

Where are your favorite drivers in the Sprint Cup standings? Check out the points.

“If you don’t have a car, you have to have a water taxi,” Penske said of his Venetian holiday as he dodged raindrops at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday.

Penske didn’t miss a thing during vacation — including the consecutive wins by his Nationwide team with AJ Allmendinger at Elkhart Lake and Brad Keselowski Friday night at Kentucky.

Still, in his absence, the rumor of Carl Edwards driving a third Penske Racing car with Quicken Loans as the sponsor next season circled around the garage the last few weeks.

“Absolutely not,” Penske said emphatically. “That’s a good one, but no. We would do a third car if we had proper sponsorship. But right now we have two good young drivers and we continue to get our cars better.”

Penske didn’t rule out the possibility of adding a third car down the road but he remains loyal to Sam Hornish Jr.

And speaking of loyalty, Penske’s commitment to AJ Allmendinger, despite the driver’s faux pas here last year when he failed a NASCAR drug test, goes beyond anyone’s expectations — including Dinger. Penske has fielded cars for the driver in both IndyCar and the Nationwide Series. Allmendinger is also expected to race at Mid-Ohio in Nationwide and the IndyCar season finale at Fontana.

“I was so pleased to see him in the Winner’s Circle,” Penske said. “It proves to everyone that he can drive a race car and he’s put everything behind him. He’s served his time, so to speak, and proved that even under pressure he was capable of getting the job done.

“This sport will bring you down but it can lift you back up if you let it. AJ has gained a lot of confidence through all of this. I don’t hire guys just to hire them. You want a guy that’s on the climb and he had potential from my perspective . . . he made a mistake and he paid for it.”

THE SECRET WEAPON

Joey Coulter is looking forward to the challenge of running at Eldora on July 27.

WHAT WAS THAT?

What are some of the wildest moments of the season? CHECK THEM OUT

Although Coulter has never raced at the “Big E”, in the last year, the 23-year-old, who is currently in his third season in the truck series — his first with Kyle Busch Motorsports — has been running dirt late-model races for fun and to improve his driving skills.

“It’s going to be exciting,” said Coulter, who is currently eighth in the truck point standings. “It’s definitely one of the races I’m looking forward to just because it’s so different and no one’s really ever done it especially in the truck series.

“The last NASCAR race on dirt, I’m sure my crew chief Harold (Holly) was probably there for it but it’s been a while. We’re putting quite a bit of emphasis on it because it’s like a wild card race. A lot can happen, we just want to make sure we’re up front and out of trouble.”

Coulter will have two advantages: First, his veteran crew chief Harold Holly, who grew up at dirt tracks. Secondly, he will have Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist as his teammate. Coulter is looking forward to working with “VooDoo Child.”

“He’s won just about everything on dirt,” Coulter added. “His experience at the track and how it’s going to change and when it’s going to change is going to be something we’ll be able to lean on. Either way, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Although practice starts at Eldora on Tuesday prior to the event, Coulter said he’ll bring a late model to Eldora to run additional laps. The team also plans to test at Smokey Mountain Speedway in Tenn., “to identify trends and work with the tire.”

NUMBERS GAME

51 — Consecutive Sprint Cup races without a rainout. The last one was the 2012 Daytona 500.

2 — Wins out of the three intermediate track races this year for Matt Kenseth. Toyota drivers have won all three with Kyle Busch winning at Texas.

10 — Different drivers have won in the first 16 races this season.

best of danica

DANICA’S BEST

There’s no one like Danica, both on and off the track. Check out some of our favorite photos of Danica in action.

SAY WHAT?

Soap opera star and race fan Steve Burton was a guest of Carl Edwards at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday. Burton, who became a fan “about seven years ago,” went to his first race at Fontana after Jeff Burton (no relation) made a guest appearance on “General Hospital”.

Burton, who recently moved from California to Nashville to raise his family, says the central location allows him “to drive to more race tracks.”

“I love it man, it’s a great sport,” Burton said.

As for Burton’s return to GH, where he was a fixture for 20 seasons, the 43-year-old Indianapolis-native added, “I am not. I’m on the ‘Young and the Restless’ now. I left ‘General Hospital’. I wanted to live in Nashville and work out a deal with them where I could fly back and forth and it just didn’t work out. Then Young and the Restless said, ‘We’ll do it.’ So I said, ‘OK, great.’ I can still act and live in the country, so it’s great. It’s a good balance for me.

“My son is a huge NASCAR fan — a diehard fan. He knows every driver, every number, every track, everything. I took him to Talladega. He said it was better than Disneyland.”

Penske’s back, shoots down rumors
http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/quaker-state-400-kentucky-speedway-roger-penske-shoots-down-carl-edwards-rumor-062913
http://feeds.pheedo.com/feedout/syndicatedContent_categoryId_167
FOXSports.com News for NASCAR
FOXSports.com Top Ranked Headlines Syndication Feed
http://www.foxsports.com/fe/img/foxsports_logo_52x39.jpg

Long-time owner ending NASCAR run?

SPARTA, Ky.

NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner James Finch has a letter of intent that takes effect on July 15 for the sale of Phoenix Racing.

IT ADDS UP

Where are your favorite drivers in the Sprint Cup standings? Check out the points.

“I have a date where I am either going to sell my stuff or either park it a week or two later,” Finch said by phone Saturday morning. “Hopefully, the people will take the team and I can help them move forward.”

Turner-Scott Motorsports co-owner Harry Scott Jr. has been mentioned as the interested party. The move to purchase Phoenix makes sense as both organizations are clients of Hendrick Motorsports and receive engines from the NASCAR powerhouse.

Requests to speak with Scott through TSM team public relations representatives went unanswered.

Sources close to the deal say that TSM driver Justin Allgaier would drive the car with sponsor Brandt once the transaction was complete. On Friday, Allgaier said his name has been brought up for potential Cup rides in 2014 but would not elaborate.

Finch said he “would be involved the rest of the year and then transfer the points next season.” He insists that July 28 — after the Brickyard 400 — is “when I stop spending my own money” on the team. That date applies whether the team sells or not.

However, there’s the chance that Phoenix Racing would, in the future, run select Nationwide Series races, which is where Finch’s career as an owner began.

Finch has owned Phoenix Racing since 1989 and has competed primarily in the Cup and Nationwide series. He currently employs “around 18 people” at the Spartanburg, S.C.-based shop. Some workers, including his car chief and team engineer, have already relocated. Finch says that AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 51 for the last three races — Daytona, New Hampshire and Indianapolis  — he plans to compete as an owner and then any driver decisions beyond that would be up to the new owners.

According to Finch, the team would continue to operate out of Spartanburg, at least until the end of the season. Sources say a possible plan for TSM co-owner Steve Turner to move his organization’s Camping World Truck Series operation out of Texas and incorporate the Cup and Nationwide series teams with it under one roof in Mooresville, N.C., is also a possibility.

Notes: Phoenix Racing will run the double-header at Daytona International Speedway next weekend, where Kurt Busch will drive in the Nationwide race in an attempt to defend his victory in the Firecracker 250. In keeping with the racing movie theme established with the “Talladega Nights” paint scheme last year, Phoenix Racing will carry City Chevrolet on the No. 1 Chevy a la “Days of Thunder.”

Long-time owner ending NASCAR run?
http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/phoenix-racing-team-owner-james-finch-plans-to-sell-or-park-team-by-end-of-july-062913
http://feeds.pheedo.com/feedout/syndicatedContent_categoryId_167
FOXSports.com News for NASCAR
FOXSports.com Top Ranked Headlines Syndication Feed
http://www.foxsports.com/fe/img/foxsports_logo_52x39.jpg

Burton works to overcome setbacks

SPARTA, Ky.

Jeff Burton is hoping his birthday brings a happier ending at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday than his race did last weekend at Sonoma, where he got an on-track surprise hit from Tony Stewart.

Burton was on pace to score his fifth consecutive finish of 12 or better at Sonoma before Stewart nailed him in the carousel stretch of the track with 20 laps remaining in the race. Burton was running eighth at the time but finished 31st.

Burton’s disappointment was compounded not only by the fact that he had gained four positions in the standings over the previous four races, but also that he was taken out by a three-time Cup champion.

“You get your feelings hurt more when it’s with people you have a lot of respect for — and have respect for you,” Burton said. “I feel like I just got wrecked. And there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. We were just doing our job. We got ourselves the track position that we needed and got it taken away from us.

“I know it wasn’t on purpose, but it still was done and you can’t get it back. I feel I work really well with Tony and he works well with me, too. It just hurts your feelings more with someone like that.”

Stewart realized he erred immediately after the accident. He radioed to the crew, “that was (freaking) stupid” before he finished 28th. When Stewart arrived in the garage after the race, Burton was waiting for him.

IT ADDS UP

Where are your favorite drivers in the Sprint Cup standings? Check out the points.

“He didn’t mean to, he just made a mistake,” Burton said. “He just got into the corner too deep. We didn’t talk in great detail. We didn’t have a lot of time to talk. He just told me he messed up. I don’t think he did it on purpose. We just came up on the short end of the stick.”

As a result, Burton dropped to 20th in the standings. He’s currently 50 points south of the top 10, the group that will lock in to the Chase for the Sprint Cup after the season’s 26th race.

On Friday, Burton qualified 14th — his second-best effort of the season and a solid launching spot for the Quaker State 400. Rather than dwelling on what he can’t control — including “all the wrecks” Burton has been unable to avoid this season — the veteran, who turns 46 on Saturday, is committed to turning the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team around.

“I felt a little bit like a victim, on the other hand it’s our responsibility to miss those wrecks but there’ve been a lot we weren’t able to miss,” Burton said. “We’ve been working hard and smart and getting better and making improvements and feel good about what we’ve been doing as a team and what we’ve been doing to move in the right direction.

“I feel like we’re moving in the right direction — I don’t feel there’s any doubt about it. Whether it’s too late (to make the Chase), I don’t know. All along I said it wasn’t too late and I started to prove it to everybody. If we had come out of Sonoma finishing as good as we ran, we would have run between seventh and 12th, but that didn’t happen, so all we can do is look at the next race.”

FOR HIRE

Ryan Newman’s needs are simple.

FAMILY TIES

Behind every NASCAR driver, there’s a support team.

“I just want to race some place where I’m wanted,” Newman said. “Where people are happy I’m there.”

Newman received a one-year reprieve on his contract with Stewart-Haas Racing, where he is currently 18th in the standings. For most of the season, Newman has been outrunning his bossman Tony Stewart.

While Newman’s resume isn’t as extensive as Stewart’s, it’s respectable with 16 Sprint Cup victories and six finishes of 10th or better in the standings. The 35-year-old South Bend, Ind., native ranks third among active drivers in pole positions with 49.

Not surprisingly, team owner Richard Childress said last week that Newman tops his list of potential candidates for the No. 29 Chevy which is being vacated by Kevin Harvick at season’s end.

“There are only so many guys that don’t have contracts for next year,” Newman said. “At this point, I would entertain any possible opportunity. I don’t think anyone in my position wouldn’t do anything otherwise.

“Of all the opportunities that there are out there, he’s got one of the best opportunities — as far as the 29 being vacated. But I don’t know what the family tree is going to look like over there.”

WAITING HIS TURN

What took Truck series journeyman Matt Crafton so long to make his Nationwide Series debut?

Crafton, 37, was just waiting for the right car.

“I guess I was picky,” Crafton said with a laugh. “I’ve had the opportunity to go run Nationwide cars, and you’re going to run 15th at best. I would rather go Truck racing and know that I can win — win races and win championships. “That means a lot more to me. At the end of the day, to run 15th to 40th in a Nationwide race — that doesn’t matter to me.

“I wanted to drive something good, and it came down to Menard’s making this happen.”

He finally got the opportunity at Kentucky Speedway on Friday night to drive the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy. With support from the Menard family — and his friend Paul Menard, who Crafton was a spotter for in Late Models — he finished third with veteran Ernie Cope calling the shots.

“Ernie and these guys brought a really, really good car,” Crafton said. “We rolled the car off the trailer and I think the second or third lap we were the fastest car out there. It’s all the hard work at the race shop. I’m just getting to enjoy driving it.”

This is the first of three races Crafton will run with Menards’. He is in his 13th full season in the Truck series and is currently leading the points. Crafton has three victories and finished a career-high second in the standings in 2009.

Burton works to overcome setbacks
http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/jeff-burton-puts-tony-stewart-sonoma-crash-behind-him-kentucky-speedway-sprint-cup-race-062913
http://feeds.pheedo.com/feedout/syndicatedContent_categoryId_167
FOXSports.com News for NASCAR
FOXSports.com Top Ranked Headlines Syndication Feed
http://www.foxsports.com/fe/img/foxsports_logo_52x39.jpg

Danica unfazed by Petty’s criticism

SPARTA, Ky.

On Friday, Danica Patrick brushed off the comments made by former Sprint Cup driver and current FOX/SPEED commentator Kyle Petty with a laugh.

“It’s funny how he said I can qualify but can’t race,” said Patrick, who is preparing for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway. “Those of you that actually watch what I do would know that I can’t qualify worth a crap, and in the race things go much better. So it’s a little bit funny, but the most important thing to me is that I can keep my team happy. We’re moving in the right direction. GoDaddy is happy.

“When you walk out into the garage or walk around the track and meet a little girl who wants to grow up to be like you, you’re doing something right.”

Petty offered his opinions during a three-part interview with Matt Clark on SPEED’s “Race Hub” this week.

After establishing his opinion that the driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevy was “a marketing machine,” Petty was asked, “Where’s (Patrick) at as a driver?”

He replied, “That’s where I have a problem. Where fans have bought into the hype of the marketing, to think she’s a race car driver. She can go fast, and I’ve seen her go fast. She drives the wheels off it when she goes fast.”

When Clark followed up with, “Has she learned to race?” Petty insisted, “She’s not a race car driver. There’s a difference.

“The King (Richard Petty) always had that stupid saying, but it’s true, ‘Lots of drivers can drive fast, but very few drivers can race.’ Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs. 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.”

When asked why, Petty responded, “Because I think it’s too late to learn.”

Patrick, 31, is 27th in points during her rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series. She earned the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500 and finished a career-high eighth, the best result for a female in the Great American Race. Patrick, who competes for Stewart-Haas Racing, also became the first female to lead a green-flag lap on NASCAR’s top tour. Patrick finished 10th in the 2012 Nationwide Series standings.

Petty’s comments are nothing new. Patrick has heard the negative banter before.

“There are plenty of people that say really bad things about me,” Patrick said. “I hear about or I read them or read them on Twitter. People want me to die. At the end of the day, you just get over the kind of stuff and trust that you’re doing a good job — and that’s all that matters, and the people around you believe in you.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was Patrick’s team owner in the Nationwide Series at JR Motorsports and has competed with her in Nationwide and Cup, said Friday that he has “to disagree with Kyle.”

“I think she is a tough competitor, and she works really hard at what she does,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “She has run some really good races. On every occasion, she is out running several guys out on the circuit.

“If she was not able to compete and not able to run minimum speed or finish in last place every week, I think you might be able to say Kyle has an argument. But she’s out there running competitively and running strong on several accounts. I think that she has got a good opportunity and a rightful position in the sport to keep competing, and she just might surprise even Kyle Petty.”

best of danica

DANICA’S BEST

There’s no one like Danica, both on and off the track. Check out some of our favorite photos of Danica in action.

Petty took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to defend his remarks: “The general argument against my opinions today are as follows … 1-I’m a never was 2- I have a ponytail 3- I ride the Kings coat tails and my favorite 4 – I just plain S@$K! NONE of which I might add is a intelligent argument for a opposing point of view…”

Having already raced for the past two decades, Patrick doesn’t expect to ever “silence the naysayers.”

“You don’t,” she said. “I’m sure every driver has them on some level. There are going to be people that believe in you and people that don’t. You try to surround yourself with people that believe in you. That’s what matters.”

Danica unfazed by Petty’s criticism
http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/danica-patrick-not-bothered-by-comments-from-kyle-petty-that-she-cannot-race-062813
http://feeds.pheedo.com/feedout/syndicatedContent_categoryId_167
FOXSports.com News for NASCAR
FOXSports.com Top Ranked Headlines Syndication Feed
http://www.foxsports.com/fe/img/foxsports_logo_52x39.jpg

Danica unfazed by Petty’s criticism

SPARTA, Ky.

On Friday, Danica Patrick brushed off the comments made by former Sprint Cup driver and current FOX/SPEED commentator Kyle Petty with a laugh.

“It’s funny how he said I can qualify but can’t race,” said Patrick, who is preparing for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway. “Those of you that actually watch what I do would know that I can’t qualify worth a crap, and in the race things go much better. So it’s a little bit funny, but the most important thing to me is that I can keep my team happy. We’re moving in the right direction. GoDaddy is happy.

“When you walk out into the garage or walk around the track and meet a little girl who wants to grow up to be like you, you’re doing something right.”

Petty offered his opinions during a three-part interview with Matt Clark on SPEED’s “Race Hub” this week.

After establishing his opinion that the driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevy was “a marketing machine,” Petty was asked, “Where’s (Patrick) at as a driver?”

He replied, “That’s where I have a problem. Where fans have bought into the hype of the marketing, to think she’s a race car driver. She can go fast, and I’ve seen her go fast. She drives the wheels off it when she goes fast.”

When Clark followed up with, “Has she learned to race?” Petty insisted, “She’s not a race car driver. There’s a difference.

“The King (Richard Petty) always had that stupid saying, but it’s true, ‘Lots of drivers can drive fast, but very few drivers can race.’ Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs. 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.”

When asked why, Petty responded, “Because I think it’s too late to learn.”

Patrick, 31, is 27th in points during her rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series. She earned the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500 and finished a career-high eighth, the best result for a female in the Great American Race. Patrick, who competes for Stewart-Haas Racing, also became the first female to lead a green-flag lap on NASCAR’s top tour. Patrick finished 10th in the 2012 Nationwide Series standings.

Petty’s comments are nothing new. Patrick has heard the negative banter before.

“There are plenty of people that say really bad things about me,” Patrick said. “I hear about or I read them or read them on Twitter. People want me to die. At the end of the day, you just get over the kind of stuff and trust that you’re doing a good job — and that’s all that matters, and the people around you believe in you.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was Patrick’s team owner in the Nationwide Series at JR Motorsports and has competed with her in Nationwide and Cup, said Friday that he has “to disagree with Kyle.”

“I think she is a tough competitor, and she works really hard at what she does,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “She has run some really good races. On every occasion, she is out running several guys out on the circuit.

“If she was not able to compete and not able to run minimum speed or finish in last place every week, I think you might be able to say Kyle has an argument. But she’s out there running competitively and running strong on several accounts. I think that she has got a good opportunity and a rightful position in the sport to keep competing, and she just might surprise even Kyle Petty.”

best of danica

DANICA’S BEST

There’s no one like Danica, both on and off the track. Check out some of our favorite photos of Danica in action.

Petty took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to defend his remarks: “The general argument against my opinions today are as follows … 1-I’m a never was 2- I have a ponytail 3- I ride the Kings coat tails and my favorite 4 – I just plain S@$K! NONE of which I might add is a intelligent argument for a opposing point of view…”

Having already raced for the past two decades, Patrick doesn’t expect to ever “silence the naysayers.”

“You don’t,” she said. “I’m sure every driver has them on some level. There are going to be people that believe in you and people that don’t. You try to surround yourself with people that believe in you. That’s what matters.”

Danica unfazed by Petty’s criticism
http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/danica-patrick-not-bothered-by-comments-from-kyle-petty-that-she-cannot-race-062813
http://feeds.pheedo.com/feedout/syndicatedContent_categoryId_167
FOXSports.com News for NASCAR
FOXSports.com Top Ranked Headlines Syndication Feed
http://www.foxsports.com/fe/img/foxsports_logo_52x39.jpg

Print This Post Print This Post