Danica Patrick is making history in NASCAR racing and has victoriously rose to fame by becoming the first woman voted the most popular driver in the series. She is crashing the gender barrier in the sport of auto racing. At 30 years old, she has earned instant fame as she became the first woman to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500; she finished fourth in the event.
Patrick began racing go-karts at the Sugar River Raceway in Wisconsin, in 1992 at the age of 12. At 16, she moved to England to launch her career in racing. She raced in the British national series events earning her the highest finish by an American in the event; winning second-place at the Britain’s Formula Ford Festival event. In 2002, Patrick began racing for Rahal Letterman Racing in the U.S. Persistence helped Patrick finally finish third in a championship and many pro racing events followed. In 2006, Patrick replaced Bryan Herta in the number 7 Dallara Honda Car and began racing in 2007 under sponsorship from Motorola, XM radio and Go Daddy. She was awarded the title of Sportswoman of the year by the March of Dimes in celebration of her dedication and success. In 2008, she became the first woman to win and take the checkered flag in the Motegi, Japan IndyCar Series.
In 2010, Patrick began transitioning into stock car racing. She committed to the racing of the sport in 2012. She began racing in the lower-level Nationwide Series and finished 10th in standings. Last year, during the Daytona 500, she made her Cup debut when she started in 29th position and finished in 38th.
She’s making history, yet again by racing in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup Series. During a performance drive on Sunday, February, 17th it put her in the record books as the first woman to qualify on the pole for a Sprint Cup race. She raced in the prestigious Daytona 500 stock car racing event.
Turning laps at 196.434 miles per hour in her No. 10 Chevrolet, she demonstrates strength and tenacity. While racing at the Daytona International Speedway, she raced to take the pole for next Sunday’s season-open racing event. Wining the pole now gives her an advantage into the field.
While racing is the sport she loves, it often comes with sacrifice and lots of hard work. Patrick trains hard for her super success and focuses on fitness and developing upper back muscles. The force of the car turning corners is hard on your body, but Patrick puts effort into caring for her body to help keep her safe. She credits hard workouts and upper body weight training as a way for her to build the strength needed for each race. ABC News reported that drivers experience equivalent to a 3 hour workout during a single race; they can loose up to 7 pounds during one race, they work their upper body strength to keep them up straight during hard turns, a single push on a break can be the same force as pushing 300 lbs and they battle sauna like 150 degree heat inside the car. At 5’1″ and 110 lbs, she is smaller and lighter than her average competitor. The average height of competitive drivers is 5’9″ and 160 lbs, but Patrick doesn’t feel inferior to her male counterparts.
Following in the path of former racer, Janet Guthrie. She makes the second woman in racing history to ever hold the best start by any woman in the Cup series. In 1977, Guthrie qualified ninth position for two races.
Just like Guthrie, Patrick has the opportunity to make history and transform the sport for the better. Amazed by her skills, team owner Tony Stewart said, “that’s is a huge accomplishment,” he went on to comment, “It’s not like it’s been 15 or 20 years she’s been trying this. It’s her second trip to Daytona here in a Cup car.” She is making history in the sport and many are proud to be a part of this history making event with her. “It’s something she should have a huge amount of pride in,” says Stewart.
Patrick told New York Times, “I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl.” Her parents instilled this in her from a very young age. When the pressure is on, she feels the need to thrive in those moments and she says it has been a help to her. “I also feel like I’ve been lucky in my career to be with good teams and have good people around me. I don’t think any of it would have been possible without that,” she says.
She feels lucky to have made history and be considered the first woman to do many things. “We have a lot more history to make,” says Patrick.
Patrick is not only an American auto racing driver, she is also a model and advertising spokeswoman. She has hosted several Spike TV shows and was featured on the cover of June 6, 2005 issue of Sports Illustrated, the cover of the September/October 2006 issue of travelgirl magazine and the October 2006 issue of American Libraries. In 2005 and 2006, she appeared in commercials for Secret deodorant. ESPN featured her in “This Is SportsCenter” commercial. In 2009, Go Daddy also filmed two commercials with Patrick that aired nationally during Super Bowl XLIII. In 2007, Victoria Secret voted her the sexiest athlete and placed her on their “What is Sexy” list. In 2006, she was voted #42 in FHM’s 100 sexiest women in the world. 2008 Kids Choice Awards featured her as a favorite female athlete. She continues appearances in commercials, video games and magazines. The IMG talent agency represents Patrick.
Patrick has been featured in many articles, including USA Today and Lifeline Biographies. Patrick drives for Stewart-Haas Racing and powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports supplies her equipment. She is continuing to show others that the world of motorsports isn’t just a man’s sport and that with enough determination and perseverance, anything is possible if you just believe and don’t give up. She is an inspiration for youth and young women; as she continues to go for the gold.
Catch Patrick this weekend, as she will be facing off with the big boys in the final race for the big win! She will be leading the pack of 45 cars, in the front row at the starting line this Sunday. Go get’em Danica Patrick! She is climbing to victory!
Just like Patrick, we too can climb to victory and when all things seem impossible and the odds feel like they are against us…this proves that you too can rise above adversity and choose victory!
Choose victory and live victoriously!
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