Danica Patrick is the best-known driver in the IndyCar Series, and she erased any doubt she belongs in April when she became the first woman in history to win a major open-wheel race.
Her popularity with the fans, however, hasn't been shared by her fellow drivers of late. After last week's race in Iowa, Scott Dixon called her "a menace," and Ed Carpenter referred to her "normal supreme block job" in suggesting that Patrick's blocking style hampered his finish.
"I don't really know where those comments came from," Patrick said during a meeting with reporters Thursday at Richmond International Raceway, the site of tonight's SunTrust Indy Challenge.
Asked to respond to competitors' objections to her aggressive style and unwillingness to give up track position, she said she's doing her job.
"All I can say is with the words you used - aggressive and giving up spots - those are things that drivers never do," she said.
FORD BOSS RETIRES: Dan Davis, the highly visible head of Ford Racing Technology for the last 11 years, will retire Aug. 1 after 32 years with the company.
He will be replaced by Brian Wolfe, a 26-year Ford veteran who has held a variety of management positions within Ford's powertrain operations.
CARPENTIER WINS FIRST POLE: Rookie Patrick Carpentier grabbed his first Sprint Cup pole Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301. He had a fast lap of 129.776 mph. Bobby Labonte was second at 129.059, followed by Kevin Harvick at 128.976.