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Patrick-Petty squabbling has run its course

‘Feud’ funny, but fake

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(John Raoux)
Danica Patrick, seen here greeting fans before the Daytona 500, has taken the high road during some recent verbal sparring with legendary former driver Richard Petty.

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. 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 2 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?

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