Danica Patrick Responds To Kyle Petty Criticism

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Being a woman in a "man's" sport isn't easy and it seems like almost on a daily basis NASCAR driver Danica Patrick is feeling the weight of it. The most recent negativity thrown her way comes courtesy of former driver and television analyst Kyle Petty.

Petty, perhaps living up to his last name, recently appeared on the SPEED Channel's NASCAR RaceHub program and had some less than flattering things to say about Patrick's ability to race.

Petty said that Patrick, who is in her first full time season in the Sprint Cup, is “not a race car driver…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."

Of course, in the land of social media, it didn't take long for Patrick to become aware of the comments. She responded to them on Friday.

"I really don't care," she said. "I don't. It's true there are plenty of people who say really bad things about me. I hear about them or I read them or I read them on Twitter. People want me to die. At the end of the day, you just get over that kind of stuff. All you can do is trust that you're doing a good job and that's all that matters and the people around you believe in you."

While not caring is the correct response to this type of criticism, outside of winning races, it became obvious that the comments made by Petty did bother Patrick as she continued to talk about the matter.

"I just think that it's funny how he (Petty) said I can qualify but I can't race," Patrick said of Petty. "Those of you who actually watch what I do would know I can't qualify for crap, and then in the race things go much better.

"It's a little bit funny. The most important thing to me is that I keep my team happy, we're moving in the right direction, that GoDaddy (her primary sponsor) is happy and that when I walk out of the garage and meet a little girl who (says she) wants to grow up to be like you, you're doing something right. Those are the things that feel right."

In her own defense, Patrick finished by saying that for each new driver, the learning curve is different.

"At times I feel like I'm ahead of it and at times behind it," she said. "I don't know at what point in time it flattens out. I'm feeling the car better. I think over time feeling the car better is going to result in a car that's set up for me and result in a car that's faster and better."

James LeBeau is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @Jlebeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: Getty