NASCAR and Country Music recently got together for "Sound and Speed" for meet and greets, celebrations and, of course, the "interviews".
Kyle Petty was one of those interviewed, and was asked one of the most popular questions "What do you think of Danica Patrick coming to NASCAR?"
Kyle is an intelligent person, and excellent announcer and an opinionated former driver. His comments are thought out, and not spoken in haste. He has said, in part, that Danica could be huge for the sport, as huge as she has been for IRL, but it all depends on whether or not she succeeds.
Kyle attributes most of the current success of IRL to Danica, saying as a marketing ploy she almost single handedly made IRL what it is today. In his opinion, IRL was floundering and the entrance of Danica, and her marketing geniuses, into the sport turned it around.
He thinks she could have the same effect on NASCAR,
“If she gets in that car and doesn’t win races it’s not the car, it’s not the engines, it’s not the team. They only changed one thing. Initially, she’ll have an impact on the sport. If she’s successful, she’ll have a huge long-term impact on the sport.
“But if she’s not successful the only impact she’ll have on the sport is she wasted two or three years on a car that a good driver could have been in and could have been developing.”
He's said openly what many have been thinking, but maybe are afraid to voice publicly. He has also said she isn't that great a driver, but then, don't we all already know that?
“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.”
Succeed or not, she will have almost every eye in the stands and on TV watching every move she makes.