Wind him up and turn him loose. True to his nature, SPEED analyst Kyle Petty offered his honest and unfettered opinion of all things NASCAR 2013 on Sunday’s edition of NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED from Phoenix. Following are excerpts from his comments:
Q: Danica Patrick claimed the pole position and ran up front in the Daytona 500. Did she change your mind about her?
Petty: “No, I don’t believe the hype. I’m going to drop some of The King’s wisdom on you: Some drivers can go fast and some drivers can race, but not all fast drivers can race. We know she can go fast, but she’s got to show me she can race."
Q: Thumbs up or down on the Gen-6 race car at Daytona?
Petty: “After one race, thumbs down. Daytona was terrible. All hype, no substance. We can call it (the Daytona 500) the ‘Danica Gen 6’ if you want to. For 480 miles, they went in a line. NASCAR a few years ago said, ‘Don’t bump draft in the corners; don’t do this.’ We saw it at Talladega – a single-file race – no racing. At Daytona, the Gen 6 is a thumbs down."
Q: Do grudges between drivers ever end?
Petty: “Drivers will always have grudges, but ‘Boys have at it’ is a BS tagline. That’s just hype. We constantly build hype. It should say, ‘Boys have at it and pay me now or pay me later’ because when they have at it, NASCAR fines them. So, what’s your point?"
Q: When it comes to new equipment, Hendrick Motorsports has the resources and drivers to jump out in front of everyone else. Is this a sign of things to come, not just for Jimmie Johnson but for the whole team?
Petty: “But there is so much talent in their pool and their pool is so deep. You can have all the resources you want but the people are the people who get it done. They get it done up there. You can go back to Petty Enterprises, Junior Johnson and his race team. You can go back to the history of the sport. The guys who already are at the top grasp the concept faster than anyone else and they go forward. If you look at Hendrick Motorsports over the last eight or 10 years, they’re the guys everybody is shooting at. They set the bar and they continue to move that bar."
Q: Who is your NASCAR RaceDay pick to win today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix?
Petty: “Everybody made fun of me last week because I picked Danica. All the hype – I bought into it last week. And you know what? I’m second in the points. So, going off that theme, I’m going to stay in the family. I’m picking ‘Mr. Danica’ – Ricky Stenhouse. That’s my pick this week."