Danica Patrick was reportedly unable to keep her temper in check on Saturday night during a race in Kentucky, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. accidentally crashed into her on the track due to brake issues.
Patrick allegedly told Earnhardt to “go f**k yourself” after he tapped the back of her car and then bumped into him purposely as he was getting back onto the track later, but Earnhardt explained afterward that he’d been having issues with his brakes all night and that it couldn’t be helped.
“The brakes got worse and worse and worse and I probably shouldn’t have been racing as hard as I was when we ran into the back of Danica,” Junior said. “But I went into that corner and mashed the brakes to the floor. I pumped it three times all the way to the floor and then ran into her. There wasn’t anything I could do. It sucks. I don’t like running into Danica because it gets a little too much attention, but I’m sorry for that,” Earnhardt said.
Earnhardt was a bit upset at Patrick’s reaction, saying he didn’t understand why she got so angry.
“I mean, as hard as I hit her, what the hell did she think I was doing? Trying to wreck her?. We ain’t got no problem. It’s not like we were having a problem out on the racetrack with her. It’s not like I just drew her name out of a hat and decided she was the one I was going to run into tonight.”
Patrick has come under scrutiny for most of her career from NASCAR fans, but she’s had a good year so far. Her sponsor, Stewart-Haas Racing, says she’s getting more comfortable on the track.
“She brings everything to us. It’s a whole different level. With our sponsors and our driver lineup, she brings something that the others don’t — and that’s really what you look for — adding to the pot. Danica adds to our pot — and her performance is getting to where she is more comfortable,” said Joe Custer.
Racing legend Richard Petty disagrees, and has voiced his opinion on Patrick more than once, saying she brings attention to the sport because she’s a female who knows how to market herself — but she’s not really 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,” Petty said.