Petty doubts Patrick's chances of winning a race

( - Richard Petty thinks Danica Patrick's chances of winning a race in NASCAR's top racing circuit are slim to none.

According to the website, Petty, a member of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class, was asked by reporters during his visit to the Canadian Motorsports Expo in Toronto if Patrick would ever win a Sprint Cup Series race.

His response,"If everybody else stayed at home. If she'd have been a male, nobody would ever know if she'd showed up at a racetrack."

Nicknamed "The King," Petty claimed seven championships in NASCAR's premier series and won a record 200 races. He presently co-owns a team in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series -- Richard Petty Motorsports.

Petty did note that Patrick has been a big plus for NASCAR since her foray into the sport in 2010.

"This is a female deal that's driving her," Petty added. "There's nothing wrong with that, because that's good [public relations] for me. More fans come out, people are more interested in it. She has helped to draw attention to the sport, which helps everybody in the sport."

Patrick, who drives the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, is set to begin her second full season in Sprint Cup. One year ago, Patrick won the pole for the Daytona 500, becoming the first female to do so. She finished a career- best eighth in that race -- the highest finishing position ever for a woman in Cup competition. She ended her rookie season 27th in the point standings.

Last June, Petty's son, Kyle, a former Cup driver and now NASCAR television analyst, was criticized for comments that he made about Patrick during an interview, calling her a "marketing machine" and "not a race car driver."

Patrick's 2013 Daytona 500 pole win has earned a starting position in this Saturday night's Sprint Cup preseason race at Daytona International Speedway.