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    Danica Patrick Slammed by Veteran Racer; Dale Earnhardt Jr. Defends Her Following Criticism

    Danica Patrick Terrence Jennings/Sipa Press

    Danica Patrick is cleary not going to let some negative comments slow her down. On or off the track.

    The NASCAR driver was slammed by veteran racer-turned-analyst Kyle Petty when he appeared on the Speed Channel's NASCAR Race Hub show last week.

    "She's not a race car driver," he said. "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."

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    Petty also added that Patrick is "just a marketing machine."

    "I really don't care," Patrick insisted during a news conference at Kentucky Speedway on Friday regarding Petty's criticism. "It's true there are plenty of people who say bad things about me. I read them. People want me to die. At the end of the day, you get over that stuff and trust you are doing a good job."

    What's more, Parick's former boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has come to her defense.

    "I have to disagree with Kyle," Earnhardt is quoted as saying. "She has run some really good races. On every occasion she is outrunning several guys out on the circuit. If she was not able to compete, I think you might be able to say Kyle has an argument. But she's out there running competitively and running strong on several accounts. I think that she has  a good opportunity and a rightful position in the sport to keep competing and she just might surprise even Kyle Petty."

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    And like other drivers, Patrick certainly knows a thing or two about not every race going smoothly.

    In May, Patrick and boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were involved in a crash during the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 race in Concord, N.C. According to reports, the two were on lap 319 of the race when Stenhouse accidently bumped into Patrick's No. 10 Chevy. Due to the initial impact from her boyfriend's vehicle, Patrick wound up rear-ending fellow driver Brad Keselowski's car.

    Both Patrick and Keselowski's cars sustained major damage, but fortunately, no one was hurt.

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