Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick will start from the No. 29 slot Saturday at Kentucky Speedway. Reuters

Danica Patrick has faced criticism throughout her racing career, and knew exactly how to handle the harsh words from NASCAR television analyst Kyle Petty before Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

Earlier in the week Petty said he had no problem with Patrick being a “marketing machine” and said she flat out “can’t race.” Patrick has not won a race in 26 career Sprint Cup starts, and has led only five laps this season. But she did win the pole at Daytona and finished eighth in NASCAR’s seminal event.

In the middle of her first full season in the Sprint Cup Series, Patrick spoke to reporters and casted Petty’s criticism aside.

“I really don’t care,” Patrick said. “"It's true that there are plenty of people who say really bad things about me. You just get over that kind of stuff."

Patrick will start in the 29th row Saturday, and her story has eclipsed Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first pole victory since last year at Richmond. The Hendrick Motorsports driver posted a 183.636 mph, just edging out Carl Edwards, who ran a 183.306 mph lap.

Points leader Jimmie Johnson will start in the third row, followed by Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose.

Edwards is only 25 points behind Johnson, and can follow up his third placing showing at Sonoma last week.

Reigning Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski won last year at Kentucky, and will start from the No. 8 slot in front of Brian Vicks, but one back from Ryan Newman.

The race begins at 7:30 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by TNT.

Starting Lineup

1.Dale Earnhardt Jr.

2.Carl Edwards

3.Jimmie Johnson

4.Kyle Busch

5.Marcos Ambrose

6.Denny Hamlin

7.Ryan Newman

8.Brad Keselowski

9.Brian Vickers

10. Juan Pablo Montoya

11. Joey Logano

12. Jeff Gordon

13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

14. Jeff Burton

15. Clint Bowyer

16. Matt Kenseth

17. AJ Allmendinger

18. Aric Almirola

19. Martin Truex Jr.

20. Greg Biffle

21. Kasey Kahne

22. Kevin Harvick

23. Jamie McMurray

24. Paul Menard

25. Tony Stewart

26. Austin Dillon

27. Kurt Busch

28. David Stremme

29. Danica Patrick

30. Landon Cassill

31. Casey Mears

32. Dave Blaney

33. Michael McDowell

34. David Gilliland

35. JJ Yeley

36. David Reutimann

37. Josh Wise

38. David Ragan

39. Mike Bliss

40. Travis Kvapil

41. Joe Nemechek

42. Scott Riggs

43. Ken Schrader