Danica Patrick is one seriously impressive lady. The world-famous racing driver had an incredibly celebrated career in the historically male-dominated sport. Among many other accomplishments, Patrick was the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race, the first to nab a pole position, and the first to have the most starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. The barnstorming driver also got the highest finish by a female driver in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, making her one of just 14 female drivers to ever lead those races.
As Grand Tour Nation notes, although Patrick’s clearly had a passion for racing, when she inevitably retired from the sport that made her name, the intrepid entrepreneur spread her wings wide to make a mark on the varied worlds of wine, fitness, and charity. She might have said goodbye to the race track, but Patrick never took her foot off the pedal.
Danica Patrick stormed the racing world
Patrick was a mainstay in the racing world for many years, with Grand Tour Nation reporting she was named as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” featured on the covers of the 2008 and 2009 Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions, appeared in a record-setting 14 Super Bowl commercials, and even became the first female host of ESPN’s Sports Award. She’s been passionate about racing since receiving a go kart as a gift at the age of 10, moving into road racing at just 16.
Patrick has broken many barriers over the course of her career, from leading her first Indianapolis 500 race by 19 laps, to becoming the first woman to win a major-league U.S. race after coming first at the IndyCar Series Japan 300 race. She became the first female driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole, simultaneously setting the fastest time. In 2015, Patrick broke the world record for the most top 10 finishes by any woman in NASCAR.
Retirement wasn't the end for Danica Patrick
In 2018, Patrick competed for the last time, but she went out with a bang, achieving the “Danica Double” by competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. A year after retiring for good, Patrick admitted to the Associated Press that she doesn’t miss the track. “I (raced) for 27 years and life is so short and there’s so much to experience and so much to do,” she explained.
Some of those other things include her athleisure clothing line, Warrior by Danica Patrick, a brand of wine called Somnium, and a podcast called Pretty Intense. Early in 2020 she admitted on the show that there are a couple thing she misses about racing, though. “Sometimes I do miss the feeling of, like, really going fast as far as like, handling that and feeling really confident and comfortable and knowing that it was so on the edge. Yeah, that’s kind of a magical feeling,” she revealed (via USA Today).
Danica Patrick never took her foot off the gas
Retirement clearly suits her quite nicely as it’s also given Patrick the opportunity to give back. As she told People, the retired racing driver partnered with Omaze to launch a campaign in support of Folds of Honor, “Because they help the spouses and children of fallen and disabled service members after incredible heartbreak and challenges.” Fans donated for the opportunity to attend the Monaco Grand Prix with Patrick herself.
For those looking to follow in her boundary-stomping footsteps, Patrick advised the Los Angeles Times in an interview, “As human beings, we shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into a one-dimensional thing. I thought my strongest message was just do what you love to do and be yourself.” There’s no looking back, only forward. As she explained to the Desert Sun, “I want to be where I am today. I wouldn’t want another scenario. I’m happy with my life and where I am.”
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