Staff WriterRichard Petty, the all-time winningest driver in NASCAR’s top division, expressed that the only way Danica Patrick will ever win a NASCAR race is if nobody else is competing. Petty made this comments at the Canadian Motorsports Expo in Toronto when asked about Patrick’s chances to win a Sprint Cup race. “(Only) if everybody else stayed home,” he said, according to Wheels.ca. Patrick will begin her second full year in Cup after struggling during her rookie season: in 36 starts she posted an average finish of 26.1, failed to finish five races due to accidents and ranked 27th in the standings. In the season-opening Daytona 500 she was placed eighth after becoming the first woman to win a Cup pole. These struggles did not go unnoticed by Petty, who feels Patrick landed a premium ride with Stewart-Haas Racing just because she’s a woman. However, he admits the attention Patrick has brought to the sport has benefited everyone: “If she’d have been a male, nobody would ever know if she’d showed up at a race track. 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,” Petty said. But not everything has been tough for Patrick: as a rookie in 2005, she became the highest-finishing woman in the history of the Indianapolis 500 placing fourth; three years later she became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race when she won at Twin Ring Motegi Superspeedway in Japan.
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