Danica Patrick

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Danica Patrick
Danica 2010.jpg
Patrick in 2010
Born Danica Patrick
(1982-03-25) March 25, 1982 (age 32)
Beloit, Wisconsin, U.S.
Height 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight 100 lb (45 kg)
Awards 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
2005 IndyCar Series season Rookie of the Year
IZOD IndyCar Series Most Popular Driver 20052010
2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
54 race(s) run over 3 year(s)
Car no., team No. 10 (Stewart-Haas Racing)
2013 position 27th
Best finish 27th (2013)
First race 2012 Daytona 500 (Daytona)
Last race 2014 Bojangles' Southern 500 (Darlington)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 1 1
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
61 race(s) run over 5 year(s)
Car no., team No. 30 (Turner Scott Motorsports)
2013 position 128th
Best finish 10th (2012)
First race 2010 DRIVE4COPD 300 (Daytona)
Last race 2014 DRIVE4COPD 300 (Daytona)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 7 1
IndyCar Series career
115 race(s) run over 7 year(s)
Best finish 5th (2009)
First race 2005 Toyota Indy 300 (Homestead)
Last race 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship (Las Vegas)
First win 2008 Indy Japan 300 (Motegi)
Wins Podiums Poles
1 7 3
Statistics current as of April 12, 2014.

Danica Sue Patrick (first name pronounced /ˈdænɪkə/,[1][2] born March 25, 1982) is an American auto racing driver, model and advertising spokeswoman. She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing—her win in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 is the only women's victory in an IndyCar Series race and her third place in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 the highest finish ever there by a woman. She competed in the series from 2005 to 2011. In 2012 she competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and occasionally in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In the 2013 season, Patrick drove the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, and a limited Nationwide Series schedule for Turner Motorsports. In 2013, she became the first female NASCAR driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole, turning in the fastest qualifying lap since 1990 in qualifying for the Daytona 500.[3]

Patrick started in kart racing and later raced in Formula Ford in the United Kingdom before returning to the United States and moving up to IndyCars. She was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. She holds the IRL record for most consecutive races running at the finish: as of October 2, 2011, she had completed 50 consecutive in the running (besting the record by 18).[4] During her time in IndyCar, Patrick drove for Rahal Letterman Racing from 2005–2006, and Andretti Autosport from 2007 to 2011.

Early life[edit]

Patrick was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, the daughter of Beverly Ann (née Flaten) and Terry Jose Patrick, Jr.[5] Her mother's family is of entirely Norwegian descent.[6] She grew up in nearby Roscoe, Illinois. Her parents met on a blind date at a snowmobile event in the 1970s when Bev was a mechanic for a friend's snowmobile.[7][8] T. J. raced snowmobiles, motocross, and midget cars. They have owned a Java Hut and a plate glass company. Patrick has a younger sister named Brooke.[5]

Patrick was a cheerleader at Hononegah Community High School in Rockton, Illinois, in 1996 and spent her off-time babysitting for a family down the road when she wasn't racing.[9] She dropped out of high school and attained a GED certification.[10] Her father, T. J., helps his daughter by driving her motor coach and managing her Web site and merchandise trailer, while her mother, Bev, handles Patrick's business affairs.[11]

Early racing career[edit]

Patrick began go-karting in 1992 at the age of 10[12] at the Sugar River Raceway in Brodhead, Wisconsin.

At age 16 she moved to Milton Keynes, England, in order to advance her racing career,[13] racing in British national series events against drivers including future Formula One world champion Jenson Button. During a three-year period she raced in Formula Ford, Formula Vauxhall and earned a second-place in Britain's Formula Ford Festival, the highest finish by an American in the event.[14]

In 2002 Patrick started driving for Rahal Letterman Racing in the United States. After making several starts in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, she moved to the Toyota Atlantic Championship for 2003. Patrick won one pole position and was a consistent podium finisher (top three); however, she never won a race. In 2004 Patrick finished third in the Championship.[15]

IRL IndyCar Series[edit]

2005[edit]

After the 2004 racing season, Rahal Letterman Racing officially announced that Patrick would drive in the IRL IndyCar Series for 2005.[16]

On May 29, 2005, Patrick became the fourth woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500, following Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher. As of 2012, Patrick joins Guthrie as one of only two women to have competed in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. After posting the fastest practice speed of the month (229.880 mph / 369.956 km/h) during the morning practice session on the first day of qualifications (May 15), she made an error in the first turn of her first qualifying lap, and failed to capture the pole position, which went to Tony Kanaan. Patrick's fourth starting position, however, was the highest ever attained for the race by a female driver.[17]

Patrick became the first female driver to lead the race at Indianapolis, first when acquiring it for a lap near the 125-mile (201 km) mark while cycling through pit stops, and late in the race when she stayed out one lap longer than her rivals during a set of green-flag pit stops. Patrick overcame two crucial errors to finish fourth, the same position she started in. Patrick's car stalled in the pits about halfway through the 500-mile (800 km) race, dropping her to the middle of the field; and shortly after reclaiming a spot in the top 10, Patrick spun on a caution period just before an intended green flag leading to a four car accident. The accident caused damage to Patrick's car that was limited to the nose and front wing. Her pit crew promptly made repairs, and due to the subsequent yellow, Patrick was able to rejoin the field, losing only one position. When the leaders pitted for fuel on lap 172, Patrick stayed out to take the lead. On lap 194, eventual race winner and 2005 series champion Dan Wheldon passed her as she was forced to slow in order to conserve fuel. Patrick was subsequently passed by both Bryan Herta and her teammate Vitor Meira. Patrick's fourth place was the highest ever finish for a female driver at the Indy 500, besting the previous record of ninth set by Janet Guthrie in 1977. Patrick led 19 laps overall.[18]

On July 2, 2005, Patrick won her first pole position, leading a 1–2–3 sweep by Rahal Letterman Racing at Kansas Speedway. She became the second woman to accomplish this feat in the IndyCar Series, the first being Sarah Fisher in 2002 at Kentucky Speedway. On August 13, 2005, she won her second pole at Kentucky Speedway, although this time, rain prematurely ended qualifying and position was determined by speeds achieved during practice. She took a third pole at Chicagoland Speedway which tied her with Tomas Scheckter's record for number of pole positions earned in a rookie season.[19]

In 2005, Patrick finished 12th in the IndyCar Series championship, with 325 points. She was named Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season.[citation needed]

During the offseason following the 2005 racing year, Patrick competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona along with Rusty Wallace in January 2006. The car did not finish and they ended the race in 50th place.[20] Robby Gordon has claimed that Patrick's comparatively low body weight constitutes unfair competition due to the inverse proportionality of the combined mass of a car and its driver, and its maximum velocity.[21]

2006[edit]

Patrick competed in the 2006 IndyCar Series season giving her another chance at qualifying and racing in the Indianapolis 500. In the first race of the season, the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead, Patrick qualified third behind the Penske Racing teammates of Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr. However, tragedy struck as RLR teammate Paul Dana was killed in a crash during practice the morning of the race. Patrick and Buddy Rice withdrew from the race immediately. The two resumed their 2006 IndyCar campaign with the second race of the year at St. Petersburg[citation needed]

Patrick at the 2006 Indianapolis 500

At the Indy 500, Patrick started eighth and finished eighth. After Watkins Glen, RLR switched to the Dallara chassis and the team struggled to adapt. Patrick struggled to remain competitive, but her fourth place finishes at Nashville and Milwaukee tied her career best IndyCar finishes. At Michigan, Patrick's car ran out of fuel with three laps to go and she fell to 17th. She rebounded at Kentucky and Infineon to finish 8th in both races.[22][23]

In her final race with RLR at Chicagoland, Patrick recorded a 12th place finish and a 9th place finish in the IndyCar Series Championship point standings, besting her 12th place points finish as a rookie.[citation needed]

In November, the March of Dimes awarded her the title of Sportswoman of the Year in celebration of her dedication and success.[24]

2007[edit]

Patrick after qualifying for the 2007 Indianapolis 500

On July 25, 2006, Patrick announced she had signed a deal to drive for Andretti Green Racing, replacing Bryan Herta in the number 7 Dallara Honda car beginning in 2007.[25] Sponsorship came from Motorola, XM radio and Go Daddy.[26][27]

In Patrick's first race with Andretti Green Racing at Homestead on March 24 she finished 14th after crashing into the pit wall on lap 154. She finished 8th at St. Pete and 11th at Japan. At Kansas she had her best finish of the year at that point, finishing 7th.[citation needed]

Patrick ended up starting and finishing eighth in the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500. She ran as high as 2nd to Tony Kanaan after the mid-race rain delay. After a pit stop, she dropped back in the field. Patrick was working her way back to the front until the race was ended under the caution caused by Marco Andretti's accident due to the subsequent rain on lap 166.[citation needed]

At Milwaukee, Patrick started second to last but moved quickly to 5th before there was contact between her car and that of Dan Wheldon. Patrick managed to keep the car from hitting anything but the collision caused aerodynamic damage. She used a caution to regain the lead lap and finish 8th. After the race, she and Wheldon had a heated exchange in which she tried to confront him about the collision.[citation needed]

Patrick rebounded at Texas in the Bombardier Learjet 550. She ran with the lead pack through the entire race and led a race for the first time since 2005. She finished less than a second behind the winner, Sam Hornish, Jr., a then career-best third and her first "podium" finish.[citation needed]

She was involved in a crash at Iowa and finished 13th. At Richmond she ran in the top 10 all night before finishing 6th.[citation needed]

She finished 11th at Watkins Glen, before running in the top 5 all day and finishing 3rd at Nashville. At Mid-Ohio she finished 5th (her best road course finish) despite being involved in an accident on lap 1 that sent her into the grass briefly.[citation needed]

Patrick had bad luck again at Michigan International Speedway, where in previous years she retired early due to fuel and other problems. In 2007, a flat tire late in the race forced Patrick to pit and dropped her to finish 7th.[citation needed]

Her bad luck continued at Kentucky, and she ran in the lead group all night and appeared to be heading towards another podium finish when, with fewer than 50 laps to go, she spun out while leaving the pit road. After restarting from that spin, a rear tire on Patrick's car blew out, which caused a crash and forced her to retire from the race.[citation needed]

Her luck got a little better at Infineon, where she ran in the top 10 and finished 6th. However, a series of slow pit stops kept her from what could have been an even better finish.[citation needed]

At Belle Isle, Patrick started 11th and was involved in two accidents from which she was able to restart without damage. She eventually drove to the front and lead 9 laps of the race before falling back after having to pit. On the final lap, while Patrick was running in 5th, Buddy Rice, Scott Dixon and teammate Dario Franchitti were involved in an accident immediately in front of her. Patrick was able to avoid the crash and finish in second place, which was a career high in the IndyCar Series and tied her with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Sarah Fisher for best finish in IndyCar racing by a female.[citation needed]

At the season finale in Chicagoland Speedway, Patrick ran most of the race in the top 6 but had to make a pit stop for fuel with 7 laps to go. When entering the pit lane, Patrick spun but avoided damage to her car. Patrick was able to restart the engine with assistance from her pit crew, make a complete pit stop and re-enter the race. She finished 11th overall.[citation needed]

For the 2007 season as a whole, Patrick scored her first three career podium finishes to finish with 4 top 5's and 11 top 10's while leading 17 laps on the season. She also scored her career best championship points finish of 7th with 424 points.[citation needed]

2008[edit]

Patrick won her first IRL race at the 2008 Indy Japan 300, and became first woman to win an IndyCar Series race

To begin the 2008 season, her second with Andretti Green Racing, Patrick scored her best career Homestead finish of 6th. She followed that up with another top 10 by scoring a 10th place finish at St. Petersburg.

Patrick won at Twin Ring Motegi in the Indy Japan 300 on April 20, 2008, becoming the first woman to win an IndyCar race,[28] joining the ranks of drag racer Shirley Muldowney, who won three NHRA Top Fuel Championships,[29] as a "first female" winner in the top tier of American motorsports. Patrick took the Indy Japan 300 after the race leaders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps. She finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of the Brazilian pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, who ran out of fuel in the final turns on the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) Twin Ring Motegi oval.

Her team owner, Michael Andretti, commented, "I'm thrilled for her that the monkey is finally off of her back."[30]

A mechanical problem late in the race RoadRunner Turbo 300 at Kansas Speedway forced Patrick to retire early from the race.

Patrick at 2008 Indianapolis 500 Pole Day

During practice for the 2008 Indianapolis 500, Patrick's car struck a member of Dale Coyne Racing's pit crew when she came into the pits on May 9. During the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, 2008, she retired from the race early after a collision in the pitlane. As Ryan Briscoe exited his pitbox, the two cars collided, damaging Patrick's left rear suspension and eliminating both from the race. After being pushed back to her own pit, Patrick left her car and headed down pit road towards Briscoe's pit at which point IMS security intervened, preventing an on-track confrontation. Patrick and Briscoe were called to the Indycar hauler. Indycar CEOs fined Patrick and Briscoe $100,000 and placed them on probation after the 2008 season.[31]

Following Indy, Patrick finished 9th at Milwaukee and 10th at Texas, with both races ending under yellow flag conditions. At Iowa and Richmond, she stayed out of the many crashes during these races and finished 6th in each event.

Overall, she finished the 2008 IndyCar Series season in sixth place — the highest championship finish among American drivers for the 2008 season.

During the offseason following the 2008 racing year, Patrick made her second appearance in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2009, teamed with Casey Mears, Andy Wallace, and Rob Finlay.[32]

2009[edit]

Patrick's car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2009

On May 24, Patrick raced at the Indianapolis 500. She finished third behind winner Helio Castroneves and second-place Dan Wheldon.[33][34] It was her best finish in five attempts, one spot better than her 2005 finish, and a new record high finish for a female driver in the race. The following weekend in Milwaukee Patrick raced to 5th position at the flag. On June 6, she finished the Bombardier Learjet 550 in 6th place, dropping her to fifth place in the IndyCar Series point standings.

Patrick began the season with the Motorola sponsorship from her previous two seasons with AGR; however, her car was rebranded for Boost Mobile following the Kansas race. The changes were made public with a drive down the tarmac at the Indianapolis International Airport.[35]

In what was a difficult Honda Indy Toronto qualifying and practice for the entire Andretti Green team, Patrick started the race in the 18th position (her teammates also starting in the rear of the field in 17th, 20th, and 22nd). Patrick had the best finish of the Andretti Green team moving up 12 positions to finish 6th, putting her only three points behind Castroneves for the 4th position in the 2009 points championship.

Patrick finished the season 5th overall in the point standings, her highest finish to date. This 5th place finish was not only the highest of any of the Andretti Green Racing drivers, but of any non-Penske or Ganassi driver for the 2009 season.[36] It was also the highest finish by an American driver in 2009.

2010[edit]

Patrick signing autographs in Carmel, Indiana, in 2010

The 2010 season saw Patrick returning to drive with the newly renamed Andretti Autosport in the IZOD Indycar Series, as well as a limited schedule with JR Motorsports in the Nascar Nationwide Series.[37] She would be sponsored by GoDaddy.com in both series.[38]

The 2010 Indianapolis 500 got off to a rough start for Patrick when difficulties with the car setup led her to publicly removing blame from herself for poor qualifying results. Her comments that the car was "absolutely awful" and that "it's not my fault," led the crowd to boo Patrick loudly as they took it as her blaming her team and not taking any responsibility for a disappointing session.[39] Patrick was also booed during driver intros.[40] Despite starting in 23rd position, Patrick moved up 17 positions to finish in 6th.

Patrick's car at Indianapolis in May 2010.

Patrick's top finishes of the season came at Texas and Homestead-Miami. She finished in 2nd place in both races, making it the first season since 2007 in which she had placed on the podium in multiple races during a season. She finished 10th in the championship points for the season, moving just 6 points ahead of Justin Wilson during the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

During the 2010 season, Patrick set the Indycar Series record for consecutive races finished running, having finished every race of the 2010 season as well as all but the first race of the 2009 season, for a total of 33 races.[41]

The 2010 season would also see Patrick participating in the Drive4COPD campaign along with Patty Loveless, Bruce Jenner, Michael Strahan, and Jim Belushi. The team is working as part of a multi-year initiative to bring awareness of the dangers of COPD (which includes Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema), the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S. today.[42]

2011[edit]

Patrick during the 2011 Indy Japan: The Final

Patrick would return for the 2011 IndyCar Series season driving again for Andretti Autosport, as well as competing part-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driving for JR Motorsports, sponsored by GoDaddy.com in both. In the season opener at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Patrick started in 19th and finished 12th after sustaining front wing damage and having to pit for a replacement twice, first after being hit by Ana Beatriz, and later in a similar incident by Justin Wilson. She was also penalized for "avoidable contact" with J.R. Hildebrand, putting her back by one position.

In the second race of the season that took place at Barber Motorsports Park, Patrick would have a strong run starting from 22nd position, working her way up to 7th; however, unfortunate pit strategy involving her tires not being changed over would cause her to finish 17th instead. In her third race, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Patrick started 20th and finished 7th, moving up 13 positions, more than anyone else in the race.

In her fourth race of the season, the São Paulo Indy 300, Patrick would start in 17th position. Heavy rainfall would ensue early on in the race that would result in a collision in Turn 2 between her and former teammate Tony Kanaan, along with Helio Castroneves and Simona de Silvestro, putting them all out of the race. After numerous other accidents caused by the weather and poor visibility, the race itself was postponed and scheduled to restart the next morning from Lap 14. Unfortunately, because Patrick's accident took place nine laps prior to the race being stopped, she, along with others involved were forced to restart nine laps down. She would finish the race in 23rd.

On May 21, due to unexplainable team-wide flaws with the cars, Patrick, along with the rest of her full-time teammates would fail to qualify for the 2011 Indianapolis 500, forcing them all to have to attempt to qualify on the following day for the last nine positions in the race. Despite being one of the fastest in the following morning's practice, when it came time for qualifying, her car failed tech, and she was thus placed in the back of the qualifying line. She would almost be denied an opportunity for a qualifying attempt because it started to rain. The rain stopped just in time for her to make a qualifying effort that put her safely in the race, qualifying 26th.

On the day of the race, May 29, she would start in 25th because of Ryan Hunter-Reay being reinstated into the race and starting in the back of the field. Despite strong showings in a car she was struggling with getting speed out of throughout the race and eventually taking the lead, she began to run out of fuel and this would cost her the win, causing her to finish 10th.

Ongoing handling issues with her racecar would follow Patrick to her next race at Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone Twin 275's: a set of two individual races that took place the same night. She started 10th in the first race but finished 16th. The second race starting grid was determined by a drawing. The results of the drawing would have her start 20th, but she would overtake several cars early on in the race and would actually end up finishing 8th. Patrick tweeted, however, that she was still upset with both finishes. Like almost all the other drivers, she criticized the drawing to determine the starting positions for the 2nd race, stating that it would have been better that the field had been inverted instead like the original twin races.

Her next race at the Milwaukee Mile saw her starting 15th and finishing 5th after climbing 10 positions, her first top 5 finish of the season. Her next race was the Iowa Corn Indy 250 night race. Despite a successful qualifying run, starting 2nd, things took a severe turn for the worse when handling problems showed up at the final practice just prior to the race. As a result, Patrick lost positions very quickly in the opening laps and spent most of the time mid-pack, hardly passing anyone, however, was able to hold her position somewhat, and made a few passes late in the race, finishing 10th. At the Edmonton Indy she managed to finish 9th after starting 22nd, her best ever result on the City Centre Airport. Because this was the year of the 2011 IndyCar World Championships tragedy that claimed Dan Wheldon's life, Kentucky was the last race in which Patrick was able to edge out Helio Castroneves for 10th in the points championship. Patrick announced that she would no longer be driving full-time in the IZOD IndyCar Series after this season and would focus her full attention to driving stock cars in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

NASCAR/ARCA career[edit]

Patrick at a 2012 NASCAR Nationwide race at Road America.

Patrick drove a part-time schedule in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports and her sponsor GoDaddy.com.[43] Her first competitive stock car experience was driving the #7 Chevrolet in an ARCA race on February 6, 2010, at Daytona International Speedway, in which she finished in sixth place.[44][45] She raced at Daytona on February 13, 2010, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for her first career start in the series, which ended when Patrick was caught up in a 12-car accident off turn 4 on lap 68 (Patrick's owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. flipped over in a violent crash on the back straightaway on lap 92 of the same race after contact from Brad Keselowski). She started 15th and finished 35th. Patrick started her second NASCAR Nationwide Series race February 20, 2010, in the Stater Brothers 300 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California from 36th place and finished in 31st place in the JR Motorsports Chevrolet. She did not qualify for the race on speed but invoked a provisional to make the grid. In her third Nationwide race, Patrick finished 36th when she crashed into Michael McDowell, her 2nd DNF in 3 races. Her next Nationwide race in June resulted in a 30th place finish. At the Chicagoland race she finished 24th, two laps down.[46] At final race on November 20, 2010, Patrick set her best 2010 Nationwide Series result, finishing 19th in the Ford 300 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. After making 13 Nationwide Series starts, Patrick finished the season 43rd overall in the point standings.

On March 5, 2011, Patrick set racing history again, finishing 4th in the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide Series Race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Patrick mentioned in the post-race interview that her goal was to get a top 10 finish.[47]

On July 7, 2011, Patrick finished 10th in the Subway Jalapeño 250 Nationwide series race at Daytona after leading a total of 13 laps during the race before being involved in an incident coming to the checkered flag on the last lap of the race.

K&N Pro Series East[edit]

In Patrick's first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, she posted her first top 10 finish (6th) at Dover but the following day, during the Nationwide race, she hit the wall after experiencing a vibration and a cut tire off turn 4 finishing 35th, 94 laps down.[48]

NASCAR Nationwide Series[edit]

Patrick's team performing a pit stop at the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Patrick and her sponsor GoDaddy.com announced on August 25, 2011 that Patrick will be leaving the IndyCar series to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series full-time for JR Motorsports in 2012, as teammate to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Cole Whitt.

She won the pole for the DRIVE4COPD 300 in February, only the second woman to do so in NASCAR history, the first being Shawna Robinson in a Busch Series event in 1994.[49] Patrick closed out her first full-time season with one pole, four top 10's, and a 10th place points position.[citation needed]

For 2013, in addition to her full-time Sprint Cup ride, Patrick drove for Turner Motorsports part-time in the Nationwide Series.[50]

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series[edit]

2012[edit]

It was also announced that Patrick will be running a limited schedule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012 with GoDaddy.com as primary sponsor. On November 4, 2011, in a press conference at Texas Motor Speedway, it was revealed that Patrick will be driving the #10 (Robby Gordon would not give up ownership of the #7) car for Stewart-Haas Racing. In addition, Tony Stewart's former Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Greg Zipadelli would become crew chief for Patrick's Cup Series debut at Daytona. Patrick was guaranteed a spot at the Daytona 500 through an alliance with Tommy Baldwin Racing, using the 33rd place owner's points from the TBR #36 entry of Dave Blaney.

At Speedweeks, Patrick qualified for the inside line in the first Gatorade Duel qualifying race. Her run was marred when she smashed almost head-on into an inside wall on the back straightaway on the last lap after Aric Almirola got into Jamie McMurray, sending Almirola into Patrick's car. Tony Stewart won the duel ahead of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.. At the Daytona 500, Patrick's chances of being in contention ended quickly when she crashed on lap 2 with Jimmie Johnson, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, and Trevor Bayne. She finished 38th. In her second race, the Southern 500 at Darlington, she started 38th and finished 31st.[51] This was followed by a 30th place finish at the Coca-Cola 600.

In her fourth Cup start, the 2012 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol, Patrick was running strong before she was crashed on lap 436 by Regan Smith. She responded by wagging her finger at Smith as he drove by under caution. The incident was ranked among Sports Illustrated's top 50 sports moment photos for 2012,[52] overshadowing an earlier incident on lap 333 when Tony Stewart had thrown his helmet at Matt Kenseth's hood. Patrick finished 29th in this race and at the AdvoCare 500 the following week at Atlanta. She finished in 25th place at Chicagoland, and 28th at Dover. At Kansas, Patrick finished in 32nd place after trying to wreck Landon Cassill in Turn 2 on Lap 156, but ended up wrecking herself instead. At the 2012 AAA Texas 500 at Texas, she had her first lead lap finish, finishing 24th, last car on the lead lap.

The following week at Phoenix, during a green-white-checkered finish caused by Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer's wreck, Jeff Burton sent Patrick into the wall in turn 3. Controversy ensued because despite her wrecked car leaking oil as it limped around the track, NASCAR refused to throw a caution flag. As a result, when the field came around for the checkered flag, a crash occurred as Greg Biffle tried to squeeze between Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman, causing those two cars to hit the wall, starting a wreck also involving eventual series champion Brad Keselowski, Mark Martin, and Paul Menard. The rear end of Patrick's car was jacked into the air as Kurt Busch and Paul Menard slipped and collided with her. Race winner Kevin Harvick's owner Richard Childress was upset with NASCAR's decision not to throw the caution for Patrick's wrecked car, saying, "I'm really disappointed in the way the race was called. Kevin almost wrecked coming off of 4 [on the final lap]. We take the white flag, she's coming down there, everybody could see what was happening. I just knew the caution was going to come out. And he [Harvick] races back around and almost wrecks and we lose a car [Paul Menard's] and could have hurt a driver. So I'm just still a little upset about that last [lap] not being run under caution."[53]

2013[edit]

Patrick during practice for the 2013 NRA 500

2013 started off on a high note for Patrick, as she won the pole position for the Daytona 500 with a qualifying time of 45.817 seconds (196.434 miles per hour (316.130 km/h)).[54] Patrick became the first woman to ever win a pole in a Sprint Cup race.

On February 24, Patrick became the first female driver in history to lead a green flag lap at the Daytona 500, taking the lead on lap 90 temporarily from Matt Kenseth, and later leading a few laps during green flag pit stops on lap 127.[55] She was in the top-ten most of the day. At the white flag, she was in third place behind Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle. Heading down the back straightaway on the last lap, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Mark Martin made a move on the inside lane, causing Biffle and Patrick to drift back while Johnson won the race. Patrick finished eighth, however, which makes her currently the highest placing female driver in the race's 55 year history.[56]

At Phoenix, Patrick was running strong until lap 185, when she cut a tire in turn 4. After striking the SAFER barrier and bouncing off it, she was struck again by David Ragan. She finished 38th.[57]

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Patrick ran in the back of the pack most of the race and ended up 33rd.

In the Food City 500, her bad luck continued as she had several car issues during the race and finished 28th. She finished 25th the following week at Fontana.

At Martinsville, Patrick hit a rebound. She qualified 32nd, but due to an engine change she was forced to start at the rear of the field. In the first part of the race, she was spun by Ken Schrader on lap 15. After struggling for most of the race, Patrick used a wave-around to get back on the lead lap. Despite being at the back of the lead lap afterwards, and an incident late-race where she made contact with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. that caused Earnhardt to spin, she finished 12th.

At Texas, Kansas and Richmond, Patrick again fell back in the pack, finishing off the lead lap in all three cases.

At Talladega, Patrick was running in the top fifteen for most of the day. She was able to avoid being caught up in a 13 car wreck on lap 43 and missed Kyle Busch, but she ultimately finished 33rd when she was caught in a crash on lap 182 that also saw Kurt Busch flip over and land on top of Ryan Newman. Others involved were Clint Bowyer, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, J.J. Yeley, and Jamie McMurray.

At the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Patrick was not entered but participated in the Sprint Showdown, a race for those who did not win in previous races from the 2012 Coca Cola 600 - 2013 Bojangles' Southern 500 or past winners of the All-Star Race. The Showdown was won by Jamie McMurray and second place went to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. who both advanced into the All-Star Race. Patrick finished ninth, but Patrick would also eventually advance into the All Star Race by virtue of the Fan Vote.[58] Much like McMurray and Stenhouse, Patrick completed over 100 laps to finish 20th in her first All-Star Race.

2014[edit]

Patrick's Speedweeks in 2014 greatly contrasted from the previous year. Although she was in the Sprint Unlimited, she was part of a crash on lap 35 which saw her spin out as she tried to avoid a wrecking group of cars in the tri-oval that included Patrick's teammates Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, and Kevin Harvick, as well as others like Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon. Just as Patrick straightened out her car, Stenhouse, who had lost his brakes, t-boned her in the driver's side.[59] In Daytona 500 practice, Patrick and Stewart both blew engines. This saw both drivers have to change engines and start from the rear of the field both for the Budweiser Duels and the Daytona 500.[60]

In her Budweiser Duel, Patrick started and finished thirteenth.

In the Daytona 500, Patrick started 27th. During the first 40 laps, she was one of several drivers to hang in the back of the field. After the six hour rain delay, Patrick moved to the front, even taking the lead on lap 85 for two laps during a cycle of green flag pit stops. However, on lap 145, Patrick was running mid-pack when contact between Harvick and Brian Scott got Aric Almirola loose on the front straightaway, sending Almirola into Patrick and Austin Dillon. Patrick's car hit the outside wall at a point where there is not a SAFER barrier, leaving her with a 40th place finish.[61]

For the 2014 STP 500, Patrick qualified in tenth with a lap speed of 98.165 mph (157.981 km/h) and time of 19.290 seconds. The tenth place starting spot is her best at a non-restrictor plate track.[62]

Formula One speculations[edit]

Patrick was scheduled to test for Formula One team Honda in November 2008,[63] but this was called off due to the Honda team pulling out of the sport.[64] In late 2009, the stillborn American F1 team US F1 allegedly considered testing Patrick for a potential drive in 2010.[65] However, she stated that she wasn't contacted by anyone from the team, and that she had no plans to leave the IndyCar Series for Formula One at the time.[66] After the announcement of the return of Formula One to the USA in 2012, Formula One executive Bernie Ecclestone said that "to have someone like Danica Patrick in F1 would be a perfect advert."[67]

Public perception[edit]

Following her IndyCar win at Twin Ring Motegi, Patrick was praised by many drivers, including Tony Stewart, who said "I think obviously she's got talent; she's been successful in every form of racing she's been in so far and I don't see why she wouldn't be successful here [in NASCAR]."[21]

Criticism[edit]

In May 2005, a day before the running of the 89th Indianapolis 500, Robby Gordon claimed that Patrick's comparatively low body weight constitutes an unfair advantage.[68][69]

In June 2013, during an appearance on NASCAR Race Hub, Kyle Petty called Patrick a "marketing machine" and asserted that "She's not a race car driver. There's a difference. The King [Richard Petty] always had that stupid saying, but it's true, 'Lots of drivers can drive fast, but very few drivers can race.' Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs. 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."[70] Patrick responded by saying "I really don't care," while other drivers came to her defense.[71][72]

In February 2014, during an appearance at the 8th annual Canadian Motorsports Expo, Richard Petty was asked if Patrick would ever win a Sprint Cup race. "[Only] if everybody else stayed home," Petty responded.[73]

Media work[edit]

Patrick is represented by IMG talent agency.[74][75]

Patrick has hosted several TV shows on Spike TV, including "Powerblock", and she was featured in the 2005 documentary Girl Racers. On the August 23, 2007, episode of Diggnation, hosts Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose shot live at Infineon Raceway, where they were treated to a lap around the track in the IndyCar Safety Car driven by Patrick. On April 24, 2008, Patrick was a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien on April 25, 2008.

Patrick was featured on the cover of the June 6, 2005, issue of Sports Illustrated, making her the first Indianapolis 500 driver on the cover since Al Unser, in victory lane, following his upset fourth victory in 1987. After her participation in the 2005 Indianapolis 500, she was asked by Playboy to have her pictures taken to be published in a future edition of its magazine. She declined the offer, but she did participate in a "20 Questions" interview with Jason Buhrmester for the magazine's July 2007 issue.[76] She had also previously posed for FHM, appearing in the April 2003 issue. She was on the cover of the September/October 2006 issue of travelgirl magazine and the October 2006 issue of American Libraries. Patrick appears in the February 15, 2008, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She is featured in a four-page photo spread.[77]

In 2007 she was voted sexiest athlete in the Victoria's Secret "What is Sexy" list.[78] Patrick also was voted #42 in 2006 and #85 in 2007 in FHM's 100 sexiest women in the world.

She won the 2008 Kids Choice Award for favorite female athlete and again in 2012.[79]

Patrick made a second appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in February 2009, posing with a Shelby Cobra 427.[80]

In October 2011, Patrick appeared on Cake Boss to order a special surprise cake for Michael Kalish, an established artist that created an art display called "24M", representing the 24 million people affected with COPD. The artwork consists of 24 giant pinwheels made from U.S. license plates. The custom cake designed by Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss included a racetrack with moving cars and pinwheels.

Commercials[edit]

She appeared in commercials for Secret deodorant in 2005 and 2006 until she was replaced by Rihanna in 2007. A spot for the Honda Civic Coupe features Patrick trying to avoid a speeding ticket.

Patrick on Pole Day at Indy, 2007.

Patrick was featured in an ESPN "This Is SportsCenter" commercial, which showed then-anchor Dan Patrick towing her IndyCar due to a reserved space misunderstanding (the space in question being reserved for "D. Patrick"). She can also be seen in award winning corporate training videos Four Weeks In May and T.E.A.M.W.O.R.K. In May 2006, she published her autobiography, Danica: Crossing the Line.

During testing at Phoenix International Raceway, GoDaddy filmed a commercial with Patrick that has also aired nationally. During the same test, at the invitation of GoDaddy, Patrick met with Paul Teutul, Sr., and Mikey Teutul, and subsequently appeared on an episode of American Chopper. Patrick was also in a 2008 "inspirational, feel-good" Go Daddy commercial called "Kart" that features a young girl who aspires to be like Patrick.[81] On February 1, 2009, Patrick appeared in two GoDaddy.com commercials advertised during Super Bowl XLIII. The Most Watched Super Bowl commercial of 2009, according to TiVo, was Patrick's "Enhancement" ad for GoDaddy.com.[82]

Video games[edit]

Patrick appeared as a playable guest character in the video game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, providing her own voice and in addition, she made an appearance in the game's commercial.[83]

TV[edit]

Patrick made her acting debut in the February 10, 2010, episode of CSI: NY where she played a racing driver suspected of murder.[84]

Patrick also voiced herself in The Simpsons episode "How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window?".

On September 3, 2013, Patrick appeared on the Food Network's competitive cooking show Chopped. She defeated three other celebrities to win the competition.[85]

Music videos[edit]

She drove the 1969 Camaro SS in the music video for "Fastest Girl in Town", a single by American recording artist Miranda Lambert. Patrick also appeared in Colt Ford's music video for "Drivin' Around Song" with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.[86]

She also appeared in Jay-Z's music video "Show Me What You Got," where she drove a Pagani Zonda Roadster.[87]

Personal life[edit]

Patrick married Paul Edward Hospenthal, who had previously been her physical therapist while she was recovering from a yoga injury.[88] She converted to Catholicism upon marrying Hospenthal in 2005.[89] In November 2012, Patrick announced on her Facebook page that after seven years of marriage, she and Hospenthal would be divorcing amicably.[90][91][92]

On January 24, 2013, it was revealed that Patrick was dating 2-time Nationwide Series Champion, and fellow Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year candidate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.[93]

Patrick is the celebrity spokesperson for DRIVE4COPD,[94] an awareness campaign for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, of which her grandmother died.

Motorsports career results[edit]

Career summary[edit]

Season Series Team Car No. Races Wins Poles FLaps Points Position
1998 Formula Vauxhall Winter Series
1999 British Formula Vauxhall Championship 31 9th
2000 British Formula Ford Championship United Kingdom Andy Welch Racing 14 0 0 0 3 19th
Formula Ford Festival United Kingdom Haywood Racing 89 1 0 0 0 N/A 2nd
European Formula Ford Championship United Kingdom Haywood Racing
2001 British Formula Ford Championship United Kingdom Haywood Racing 0 0 0 10 25th
2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series United States Team Rahal 89 5 0 0 0 35 13th
2003 American Le Mans Series GTS class United Kingdom Veloqx Prodrive Racing 80 1 0 0 0 10 23rd
Toyota Atlantic Championship United States Team Rahal 24 12 0 0 0 109 6th
2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship United States Team Rahal 24 12 0 1 1 269 3rd
2005 IndyCar Series United States Rahal Letterman 16 17 0 3 1 325 12th
2006 IndyCar Series United States Rahal Letterman 16 13 0 0 0 302 9th
Rolex Sports Car Series (24 Hours of Daytona) DP class United States Howard-Boss Motorsports 2 1 0 0 0 7 106th
2007 IndyCar Series United States Andretti Green Racing 7 17 0 0 1 424 7th
2008 IndyCar Series United States Andretti Green Racing 7 18 1 0 0 379 6th
2009 IndyCar Series United States Andretti Green Racing 7 17 0 0 0 393 5th
Rolex Sports Car Series (24 Hours of Daytona) DP class United States Childress-Howard Motorsports 2 1 0 0 0 23 43rd
2010 IndyCar Series United States Andretti Autosport 7 17 0 0 0 367 10th
NASCAR Nationwide Series United States JR Motorsports 7 13 0 0 0 1032 43rd
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East United States JR Motorsports 83 1 0 0 0 155 45th
ARCA Racing Series United States Bob Schacht Motorsport 7 1 0 0 0 200 85th
2011 IndyCar Series United States Andretti Autosport 7 17* 0 0 0 314 10th
NASCAR Nationwide Series United States JR Motorsports 7 12 0 0 0 321 26th
2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series United States JR Motorsports 7 33 0 1 0 838 10th
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series United States Stewart-Haas Racing 10 10 0 0 0 0 62nd
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series United States Stewart-Haas Racing 10 36 0 1 0 646 27th
NASCAR Nationwide Series United States Turner Scott Motorsports 34 2 0 0 0 0 128th
* IndyCar Series Race 18 was abandoned due to the death of Dan Wheldon after 13 laps.
** Season in progress

American Open-Wheel[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Barber Dodge Pro Series[edit]

Toyota Atlantic Championship[edit]

Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(Non-win)**
Top 10s
(Non-podium)***
Championships
2 1 24 1 0 5 17 0
** Podium (Non-win) indicates 2nd or 3rd place finishes.
*** Top 10s (Non-podium) indicates 4th through 10th place finishes.

IndyCar Series[edit]

1 Rahal-Letterman Racing withdrew both Patrick and Buddy Rice from competition when their teammate Paul Dana was killed in a race-morning practice session accident.
2 Because of Reunification prior to the start of the 2008 IRL season, a compromise was established where teams were permitted to run either the Indy Japan 300 on April 20 with the IRL formula and rules or the Long Beach Grand Prix the same day with the old Champ Car formula and rules. Both races were for full IRL points.
3 Non-points race
4 The Las Vegas Indy 300 was abandoned after Dan Wheldon died from injuries sustained in a 15-car crash on lap 11.
Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(Non-win)**
Top 10s
(Non-podium)***
Indianapolis 500
Wins
Championships
7 2 114 3 1 6 63 0 0
** Podium (Non-win) indicates 2nd or 3rd place finishes.
*** Top 10s (Non-podium) indicates 4th through 10th place finishes.

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
2005 Panoz Honda 4 4 Rahal Letterman
2006 Panoz Honda 10 8 Rahal Letterman
2007 Dallara Honda 8 8 Andretti Green Racing
2008 Dallara Honda 5 22 Andretti Green Racing
2009 Dallara Honda 10 3 Andretti Green Racing
2010 Dallara Honda 23 6 Andretti Autosport
2011 Dallara Honda 25 10 Andretti Autosport

Sports car racing[edit]

American Le Mans Series[edit]

Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, Results are overall/class)

Year Team Make Engine Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Rank Points
2006 Howard-Boss Motorsports Crawford DP03 Pontiac DP DAY
50/24
MEX HOM LBH VIR LAG PHX LRP WAT1 DAY2 BAR WAT2 INF MIL 106th 7
2009 Childress-Howard Motorsports Crawford DP08 Pontiac DP DAY
8/8
VIR NJ LAG WAT MDO DAY2 BAR WAT2 CGV MIL HOM 43rd 23

24 Hours of Daytona[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Nationwide Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Staff (April 2006). "Danica Patrick 1982—". Biography Today 15 (2): 102–113. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Kosuke Matsuura
Indianapolis 500
Rookie of the Year

2005
Succeeded by
Marco Andretti
IndyCar Series
Rookie of the Year

2005
Preceded by
Sam Hornish, Jr.
IZOD IndyCar Series Most Popular Driver
2005–2010
Succeeded by
Dan Wheldon
Preceded by
Elliott Sadler
NASCAR Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver
2012
Succeeded by
Regan Smith