TORONTO—Numerous NASCAR fans told reporters Tuesday that recent misogynistic statements made by Richard Petty concerning stock car driver Danica Patrick have led them to the realization that the retired racing legend may not in fact be quite as open-minded as he initially appears. “When you look at Richard Petty, you naturally assume he’s a progressive, open-minded individual with a healthy, 21st-century perspective on gender relations, but his comments have really thrown me for a loop,” said NASCAR enthusiast Clinton Bradshaw, emphasizing that Petty’s claims that Patrick is incapable of winning a Sprint Cup Series race and only receives media attention because she’s a woman “just don’t gel” with most people’s automatic perception of the 76-year-old North Carolina native. “I mean, just look at him. The sunglasses. The cowboy hat. You hear that Southern drawl, and you think to yourself, ‘This guy has got to be a champion of equality and civil rights.’ And then he goes and says something that forces you to completely reexamine your assumptions. I don’t even know what to think—I mean, this is Richard Lee Petty we’re talking about, for crying out loud!” Bradshaw, who acknowledged that Petty’s views on Patrick’s racing abilities were shocking, took solace in the fact that they couldn’t possibly be shared by anyone else in the NASCAR world.
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