DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Richard Petty says he's ready to race Danica Patrick.
Petty, responding to a challenge made by Tony Stewart after the three-time NASCAR champion became miffed over Petty's remarks about Patrick's lack of talent, told Fox and Friends on Friday he was all in.
"I'm 76 years old, OK?" Petty said on Fox News Channel. "It's been 25 years since I've been in a race car. But I'll take that challenge."
The hosts, seemingly incredulous, asked again: "Really? You're going to do it, Richard?"
Said Petty: "Oh yeah. When is this going to happen?"
It probably never will, but Stewart threw down the gauntlet Wednesday during an appearance on the Performance Racing Network's Fast Talk program.
STEWART: Challenges Petty to race Danica
"I think that (a race) would settle it once and for all — maybe get him to shut up a little bit, too," Stewart said. "... I will supply the cars. If he wants to race her, I'll make sure they have exactly the same setup in the car and give him the chance. He can drive one of my 14 cars, I don't care."
Stewart also said if Patrick ever won, she should shove the checkered flag up Petty's rear end.
Patrick, who qualified third Friday for the Nationwide race in a session cut short by rain, chuckled when told Petty had accepted the challenge.
"At the end of the day, the most important thing is my team owner believes in me," she said.
When asked if the challenge could be on a race simulator, she chuckled and said ''No.''
All of this followed Petty's initial remarks about Patrick, in which NASCAR's "King" said she could not win a race unless everyone else stayed home.
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On Fox and Friends, though, Petty seemed to suggest Patrick could win the Daytona 500 on Sunday since "anything can happen" at a restrictor-plate track.
"She could even win the race here – if somebody gets behind her and pushes her through the crowd," he said.
Stewart also took a shot at Petty's career, saying the seven-time champion won many of his 200 races with a dominant car in an era when the field wasn't as equal as today.
Petty didn't disagree.
"I'll tell him he's pretty close to what it took," Petty said. "Nobody wins a race by themselves. The driver is just part of the car and the car is part of the driver. You've got to have the whole combination to win races."?