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Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick - 2017 Camping World 500 - Driver's Parade on Pit Road.jpg
Patrick at the 2017 Camping World 500
Born Danica Sue Patrick
March 25, 1982 (1982-03-25) (age 39)
Beloit, Wisconsin, United States
Height 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight 100 lb (45 kg)
Achievements Multiple firsts for women in American auto racing, including first to win an IndyCar Series race, first to clinch a pole position in the NASCAR Cup Series and the most starts, laps led, and top-tens in the NASCAR Cup Series. Highest finish by a woman in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. One of only 14 drivers to have led both races.
Awards 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
2005 IndyCar Series season Rookie of the Year
IndyCar Series Most Popular Driver 2005–2010
2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver
NASCAR Cup Series career
191 races run over 7 years
2018 position 47th
Best finish 24th (2015, 2016)
First race 2012 Daytona 500 (Daytona)
Last race 2018 Daytona 500 (Daytona)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 7 1
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
61 races run over 5 years
2014 position 108th
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
116 races run over 8 years
Best finish 5th (2009)
First race 2005 Toyota Indy 300 (Homestead)
Last race 2018 Indianapolis 500 (Indianapolis)
First win 2008 Indy Japan 300 (Motegi)
Wins Podiums Poles
1 7 3

Danica Sue Patrick (born March 25, 1982) is an American former professional racing driver. She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing - her victory in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 is the only win by a woman in an IndyCar Series race.

Early life

Downtown BeloitWI
Beloit, Wisconsin, where Patrick was born in 1982.

Born to a working-class family in Beloit, Wisconsin, Patrick began karting as a kid at the age of ten. Later she achieved early success by winning her class in the World Karting Association Grand National Championship three times in the mid-1990s.

She dropped out of high school with her parents' permission in 1998, and moved to the United Kingdom to further her career.

Early Career

Patrick competed in Formula Vauxhall and Formula Ford before returning to the United States in 2001 due to a lack of funding. In 2002, she competed in five Barber Dodge Pro Series races for Rahal Letterman Racing.

Patrick later raced in the Toyota Atlantic Series for the next two years. Her best effort was third in the championship standings for the 2004 season where she became the first woman to win a pole position in the series.

Indycar Racing

Danica Patrick on track 2006 Indy 500
Patrick driving for Rahal Letterman Racing at the 2006 Indianapolis 500

Patrick first drove in the IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Racing in 2005 and took three pole positions, equaling Tomas Scheckter's record of poles in a rookie season.

She was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series.

She improved over the next two years with Rahal Letterman Racing in 2006 and later Andretti Green Racing in 2007. In 2008, Patrick followed up this victory to place sixth overall in the drivers' standings.

She improved on this to secure fifth the following season, which saw her finish a career-high third at the Indianapolis 500, the best performance by any woman at the race.

Patrick's overall form declined during 2010, but she still managed two second-places at oval tracks before leaving IndyCar after the 2011 season to focus on stock car racing full-time.

NASCAR

RSR Photo 3-7-14 515
Patrick waiting to practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the 2014 Kobalt 400

Patrick began racing stock cars in 2010 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (now Xfinity Series) with her best result coming in the form of a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011. She placed a career-high tenth in the 2012 season standings and was the second woman to clinch a pole position in the Nationwide Series after Shawna Robinson in 1994.

Patrick started in the Sprint Cup Series (now NASCAR Cup Series) in 2012. She became the first woman to win a Cup Series pole position by setting the fastest qualifying lap for the 2013 Daytona 500, finishing eighth. Patrick bested Janet Guthrie's record for the most top-ten finishes by a woman in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015.

She stopped racing full-time after the 2017 season, but competed at the 2018 Daytona 500 and the 2018 Indianapolis 500 before officially retiring.

Public image

Danica 2010
Patrick in 2010

Danica Patrick is a globally recognizable racing driver, often identified by her first name.

She has been a magazine cover model for FHM, Sports Illustrated, TV Guide and ESPN: The Magazine and ranked highly on beauty lists and in polls, about female athletes. People magazine named her one of the most beautiful people in the world in 2006.

Patrick has featured on sports power and popularity lists. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked her the 50th and 88th most powerful person in the world of sports in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Time magazine named her a candidate for the 100 most influential people in the world in 2009 and 2010.

Patrick promotes health-conscious lifestyles and partnered with Williams Sonoma to campaign for No Kid Hungry, an organization working to end childhood hunger in the United States.

Danica is a role model for young girls. She said there were a lot of people who doubted her because she was a girl, but you just have to ignore that and keep at it. She says you can still do "girly" things like like manicures, pedicures, shopping, getting your hair done and do things like being a successful race-car driver as well.

Personal life

In 2005, Patrick married physical therapist Paul Edward Hospenthal, whom she met at his office in 2002 when she was recovering from a hip injury she sustained during a yoga session. They divorced in 2013.

From November 2012 to December 2017, she was in a relationship with fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Patrick was in a relationship with NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers from February 2018 to July 2020.

Interesting facts about Danica Patrick

  • Danica was a cheerleader in high school.
  • Football is Danica's favorite sport.
  • Danica wanted to be a singer.
  • Danica enjoys cooking, and her least favorite food is popsicles.
  • Her mother was a snowmobile mechanic with the nickname "Captain Traction."
  • Her father raced cars, motorcycles, and snowmobiles.

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