The Danica Patrick-Richard Petty feud would be a funny thing, if any of it were true.
But there will be no race. No winner-take-all grudge match.
Danica has nothing to prove by beating a 76-year-old man, even if Petty still has the physical skills to give it a whirl.
The speculation was fun for a while. It made for good, quirky copy as everyone rolled to Daytona for the start of the season in February. Danica stayed out of the fray, but Petty kept the story going by challenging her to a race recently. Roll of the eyes, and maybe a primal scream, please.
The escalation of nonsense continued this week when ESPN columnist Rick Reilly posted a story quoting GoDaddy chairman Bob Parsons, a piece that once again blurred the lines between fantasy and reality.
“These guys never cut Danica any slack,” Parsons said, sticking up for his gal who drives the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing. “None of ‘em. They somehow feel if she wins, they’ll be disenfranchised. And yet she keeps battling week after week. She’s one tough woman. I’ll tell you something: Richard Petty is a man and Danica is a woman, but Danica has bigger (expletives) than Richard Petty ever did.”
He then went on to say, “Danica would win. For once, she’d be on a level playing field. Just her against Petty. She’s a better driver.”
Oh, please. Just shut up. Hopefully Petty will be a bigger man and let it go. Enough is enough.
Patrick has enough on her plate, most notably the fact that she’s been involved in accidents in the first two races of the season, including the Daytona 500. She is 41st in owner points.
Owner points are used to help set the field each week after the third race of the season, with seven of those spots designated among the 43-driver field. With the top 36 getting in on qualifying speed, Danica will be in precarious position to miss the cut if qualifying rounds don’t work out.
“It’s tough,” Patrick said in a statement after wrecking at Phoenix. “That’s two weeks in a row we’ve had good cars and nothing to show for it. The car was good all day; we just needed track position. I’m starting to think if we didn’t have bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.”
Patrick is struggling for relevance on the track besides her highly marketable commercials skills. No one needs to feel sorry for her. She can handle it.
But to keep a non-story alive is ridiculous.
Regardless of whether you are a Petty Man or a Danica Gal, it’s a safe bet that this nonsense will continue for a while.
Who is going to chime in next?
Busch gears up for the big double
Kurt Busch is going for the ultimate double in motorsports racing:
Competing in IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 during the day and then jetting over to Charlotte to compete in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at night on Memorial Day weekend.
Confirming his plans on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, Busch will become the first driver in a decade to chase the double-double. Robby Gordon was the last driver to give it a whirl, in 2004.
“It’s a big day for us,” Busch said. “The logistical side is a big challenge, and the other challenge was getting two teams like this with the caliber of Andretti Autosport and Stewart-Haas Racing to win this race lined up.”
Busch is no slouch driving an IndyCar. He tested for Andretti in May 2013 when he spent the day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, reaching a top speed of 218 mph.
Busch will drive a Dallara-Honda for the Andretti team at Indianapolis before catching a private jet to drive for Stewart-Haas in NASCAR’s longest race.
“I’m a loyal guy, and the coaching I received from Michael Andretti during that rookie orientation day was priceless. For him and IMS to invest in that day was a big moment. So I always hoped to do it with Andretti Autosport. NASCAR and IndyCar gave us their blessing. We just needed to work through some of the scheduling issues.”
Gordon punks again
Jeff Gordon has become the King of the Road when it comes to cool pranks.
He followed up his first Pepsi commercial — pretending to be a potential client at a car dealership — with a sequel: Pranking a journalist who labeled the commercial a fake.
Jeff pretended to be an ex-convict turned taxi-cab driver who is asked to pull over by a policeman and “makes a run” for it — with Travis Okulski, who works for the auto media-outlet Jalopnik, in the back seat.
“It was an adrenaline rush for me,” Gordon said recently. “An hour later I felt like I had just won the Daytona 500.”
“... We had a safe word, which was Nebraska. I didn’t come up with it. They said, ‘Here’s the word.’ I had an earpiece where I could hear the crew talking, they could hear us and see video live of what was going on inside the car and so there was that moment that if it got to that point we called that word and it all stopped. And when I first took off and I hit about 80 miles per hour and he started kicking that glass, I came this close.
“You don’t know what that situation is going to be like until you have that person in the back of the car that is really scared. I just knew that it’s all going to be over very quick and luckily when I opened that door and saw that smile on his face, it made it all worth it.”
Tweet of the week
“Just got settled in Vegas and all I can say is Hell yeah!!!! #4thewin” — @KevinHarvick, celebrating his victory at Phoenix last week.