A Brief History
On April 20, 2008, American race car driver and GoDaddy.com spokesperson Danica Patrick won the Japan Indy 300, thus becoming the first woman driver to win an IndyCar Series race. Patrick, all 5 feet 2 inches and 100 pounds of her, is reportedly going to retire from her stellar racing career after competing in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 scheduled for Sunday, May 27, 2018.
Born in Wisconsin in 1982, Danica became active in racing Karts at the age of 10, showing her developing skills by winning her class in the World Karting Association Grand National Championship not just once, but three times during the 1990’s. In order to hone her race driving abilities, Danica dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and moved to Britain where she drove competitively in the Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall racing events to prepare her for a career in Formula One racing.
Patrick returned to the US in 2002 where she continued her racing career in other Formula and open wheel racing events, finishing as high as third place in the championship standings in 2004, including having earned a first ever pole position by a woman driver in the Toyota Atlantic Series. In 2005 Danica moved up to the equivalent of racing’s big leagues, joining the IndyCar Series circuit and having a stellar rookie year by winning the pole position at three races, tying the rookie record and earning the Rookie of the Year award.
Danica continued her open wheel racing career by improving the next couple years and winning her first ever IndyCar race in Japan in 2008. Her best ever third place finish in the 2008 Indianapolis 500 followed and in 2008 she finished sixth in the Championship Standings, improving to fifth overall in 2009. A pair of second place finishes in 2010 were followed by a transition to stock car racing in 2011 in the NASCAR competitions.
Patrick managed to make some history by winning pole positions at certain races, most notably becoming the first woman to ever win the pole at the Daytona 500 in 2013. In 2015 she put another brick in her wall of accomplishments by beating Janet Guthrie’s season record for most Top Ten finishes in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.
Danica Patrick, though only 36 years old (currently) announced her intended retirement as a race car driver after the end of the 2017 season, committing to competing in the 2018 Daytona 500 and racing in her career finale at the 2018 Indianapolis 500, going out by competing in the two biggest American motor racing events, fittingly paying homage to her past in both stock car and open wheel racing.
In addition to driving race cars, Danica also furthered the sport by appearing on television shows and films that promoted automobile enthusiasm and racing, and even appeared in a Jay Z music video. Her career as a television spokesperson for GoDaddy.com gave her tremendous public visibility, especially considering her 2009 Super Bowl commercial for GoDaddy was the most watched commercial of Super Bowl XLIII. Danica has made numerous other television appearances, both acting and as herself, even including a voice appearance on The Simpsons. A beautiful woman as well as a skilled driver, Patrick has parlayed her beauty and pleasing personality along with her driving fame to endorse numerous products and partake in charitable activities. Her appearance on the cover of magazines and inclusion on lists of beautiful athletes is testament to her well known good looks. In 2007, she was chosen as “sexiest athlete” in the Victoria’s Secret What is Sexy list.
Patrick has won numerous other awards and listings for her beauty, popularity and performance, and is the author of 2 books. Danica was married from 2005 to 2013 and is currently in a relationship with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers.
We wish Danica Patrick good luck in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 and congratulations on a stellar career, a fine example to girls and all young people everywhere. Question for students (and subscribers): Is Danica Patrick the greatest female race car driver in history? If not, please tell us who is and why in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
El Nabli, Dina. Danica Patrick (People We Should Know). Gareth Stevens Pub Learning library, 2009.
Patrick, Danica. Danica–Crossing the Line. Touchstone, 2007.
Patrick, Danica. Pretty Intense: The 90-Day Mind, Body and Food Plan that will absolutely Change Your Life. Avery, 2017.