DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Tony Stewart had mostly kept silent after Richard Petty took a shot at Danica Patrick's driving ability last week.
Stewart stuck up for Patrick, his Stewart-Haas Racing employee and teammate, in a big way on Wednesday during a taping of the Performance Racing Network's Fast Talk program at an Outback Steakhouse across from the track.
In front of a live audience, Stewart said he told Patrick she should challenge the 76-year-old Petty to a heads-up race after the "King" of NASCAR said the only way she could win was if no one else was on the track.
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"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."
When moderator Doug Rice suggested Patrick should take the checkered flag to Petty for an autograph if she ever won, Stewart immediately went a step further.
"If I were her, I'd take if over there and cram it up his (butt)," Stewart said as the crowd erupted. "But that's just me."
Stewart, a three-time champion, said the seven-time champion Petty "drove in an era when he had cars that were superior to what everybody else was running a lot.
"I think he forgets that NASCAR has changed a lot since he was a driver and how hard it really is now," Stewart said.
During a recent appearance at the Canadian Motorsports Expo, Petty said Patrick could only win a race "if everybody else stayed home."
On Saturday, he stood by his comments ("What I said is what I said and that's what I believe, OK?") but insisted he was not sexist.
Patrick responded to Petty's comments on Thursday by largely brushing them off.
"People have said things in the past, they're going to say things in the future," Patrick said. "I still say the same thing: Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. People will judge what he said, whether they judge it well or not, and I'm just not going to (judge).
"The people that matter the most to me are my team, my sponsors and those little 3-year-old kids that run up to you and want a great big hug and say they want to grow up to be like you. That's the stuff I really focus on."
Stewart hadn't publicly made his opinion known on the matter and said he's "tried to steer away from it."
"But it's like, 'Man, did he really think about what he said before he said it?'" Stewart said.
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