About // Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick is a female race car driver and has set several records for women drivers, including becoming the first woman to lead the Indy 500 and the first woman to win the pole position at the Daytona 500.

Synopsis

Danica Patrick was born on March 25, 1982, in Beloit, Wisconsin. She dropped out of high school to pursue racing. In 2002, she signed with Rahal- Letterman Racing. Patrick was the fourth woman to race in the Indianapolis 500. Her 4th place finish was the highest ever for a female driver and she was the first woman ever to lead in the race. In early 2013, Patrick won the time trials at the Daytona 500, becoming the first woman to win the pole position at the famous NASCAR event, and went on to place eighth in the race.

Early Life and Career

Born Danica Sue Patrick on March 25, 1982, in Beloit, Wisconsin, Danica Patrick began racing go-karts with her sister at age 10, and dropped out of high school to advance her racing career in England. It was there that she finished second at the Formula Ford Festival, the highest-ever finish by either a woman or an American in the event.

In 2002, Patrick signed with Rahal-Letterman Racing, which is co-owned by former driver Bobby Rahal and talk show host David Letterman. During the next two years, Patrick achieved moderate success and was a consistent finisher on the podium, but never won a race.

Top Driver

In 2005, Patrick became the fourth woman to race in the Indianapolis 500. Her fourth place finish was the highest ever for a female driver, besting the previous record of ninth set by Janet Guthrie in 1978. She led 19 laps of the race, becoming the first woman ever to lead the Indy 500. Later that year at Kansas Speedway, she won her first pole position to become the second woman to accomplish this feat in the IRL (Indy Racing League) IndyCar Series. Patrick was named Rookie of The Year at the 2005 IRL Championship.

Patrick's 2006 year began tragically when teammate Paul Dana was killed in a crash the morning of the Toyota Indy 300. Patrick had solid top ten finishes throughout her IRL campaign that year, coming in 9th place in the standings. Among many honors, she was named Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Sports Academy.

In 2008, Patrick made history when she became the first woman to win a IndyCar race. She made an impressive showing at the Indianapolis 500 the following year, coming in third in that event. In February 2013, Patrick won the time trials at the Daytona 500. This victory made for another first-she became the first woman to win the pole position at the famous NASCAR event. "I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl," Patrick said, according to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website. "That's how I've always approached my racing career. I've been lucky enough to make history and be the first woman to do many things. We have a lot more history to make and we are excited to do it." At the 2013 Daytona 500, held a week later, Patrick came in eighth place.

Other Projects

Her status as a female race car driver, combined with her youth and good looks, has netted Patrick numerous media opportunities. She's served as a host on Spike TV, been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and has appeared in commercials and music videos. In 2006, she published her autobiography, Danica: Crossing the Line.

Danica Patrick Most Memorable Achievements:

  • Finished second in the Formula Ford Festival.
  • Finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500, 2005.

Danica Patrick Career Highlights:

2005

  • Made her IRL IndyCar Series debut on March 6th in the Toyota Indy 300 (at Homestead-Miami Speedway). She did not finish the race due to an eight-car accident.
  • Fourth woman in history to race in the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th ? she finished in fourth place.

2004

  • Finished Third in the Toyota Atlantic Championship (with 269 points)
  • Ten top-five results in twelve races (1 2nd, 2 3rd, 5 4th, and 2 5th)
  • Only driver to finish all 417 laps
  • First female driver to win a pole position at for Toyota Atlantic races

2003

  • Finished sixth in Toyota Atlantic Championship with 109 pointes
  • Had five top-five finishes in Toyota Atlantic races (1 2nd, 3rd, 3 5th) and placed in the top ten ten times in twelve races.
  • First woman to finish in top three in Toyota Atlantic Championship races

2002

  • Signed with Team Rahal (Rahal-Letterman Racing) for multi-year contract
  • Debuted on July 7th at Toronto.
  • Finished 13th with 35 points in five races in the Barber-Dodge series. Her best finish was fourth.

2001

  • Won Gorsline Scholarship Award for top upcoming road racing driver
  • Competed in both the US and Great Britain

2000

  • Competed in Formula Ford Festival in England ? came in second, the highest ever by an American

1999

  • Finished ninth in Formula Vauxhall Championship (England)

1998

  • Made debut in England (Formula Vauxhall Championship) after attending the Formula Ford racing school
  • Competed in a few Karting racing

1997

  • Won the World Karting Association?s Grand National Championship in the HPV class
  • Won the World Karting Association?s Grand National Championship and the Summer National Championship in the Yamaha Lite class
  • Tenth place finish in Formula A Elk Constructors Championship

1996

  • Won 39 of the 49 Karting races she competed in
  • Won the World Karting Association?s Manufactuireres Cup National Points title for Yamaha Junior and Restricted Junior classes

1995

  • Won the World Karting Association Great Lakes Sprint Series title for Yamaha Restricted Junior and US 820 Junior classes

1994

  • Won the World Karting Association Manufacturer?s Cup title in Yamaha Sportsman class
  • Won the World Karting Association Grand National Championship in the Yamaha class

1993

  • Finished second in World Karting Association Midwest Sprint Series in Yamaha and US820 clases.

1992

  • Began racing at the age of 10. Finished her first season in second place in points for her class.

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