Danica Patrick Biography: Life and Career of the IndyCar and NASCAR Driver

Born March 25th, 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsin, Danica Patrick fell in love with racing after she began go-karting at 10. She dropped out of high school to pursue her passion in England, where Patrick made a name for herself and was quickly brought back to the U.S. to drive in the IndyCar Series in 2005. Within a few years, she became the 1st woman to win in an Indy car race. In 2012, she left the IndyCar Series to race in NASCAR full-time. In this video, WatchMojo.com takes a look at the life and career of Danica Patrick.
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She’s the only female driver to win in the IndyCar Series. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re taking a look at the life and career of Danica Patrick.

Go-Karting


Danica Sue Patrick was born March 25th, 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsin. Growing up, she was surrounded by the auto industry: her mother worked as a snowmobile mechanic, while her father raced various motor vehicles. Patrick herself first got behind the wheel of a go-kart when she was ten.

Move to England


It wasn’t long before she was hooked. She then headed to England to pursue racing as a career in the late 1990s. That move paid off as Patrick soon began competing in national series events.

Rahal Letterman Racing


Patrick’s driving skills then caught the attention of the American team, Rahal Letterman Racing. After signing with them, she achieved modest success.

Indianapolis 500


But things turned around in 2005. As one of only a handful of women to have competed in the Indianapolis 500, Patrick made history: after nineteen laps out front, she became the first woman to lead the race, and her fourth place finish meant she was the first woman to reach the top five. The soon-to-be named Rookie of the Year also won her first pole and wed her former physical therapist in 2005.

2006 IndyCar Season


Unfortunately, the next year did not start off well: following the fatal crash of teammate Paul Dana prior to the Toyota Indy 300, Patrick withdrew from the race. She did return to the IRL IndyCar Series a few weeks later, and managed to finish in the top ten on multiple occasions throughout the season.

Andretti Green Racing


Patrick then signed with Andretti Green Racing. Despite a few crashes, pit stops and fuel problems, the 2007 racing season saw Patrick reach the podium for the first time: she placed third in the Bombardier Learjet 550. But the highest achievement in her IndyCar Series career to that point happened at Belle Isle when she steered her way to number two after recovering from several accidents.

Number One at Indy Japan 300


Following two top ten finishes in early 2008, Patrick took the checkered flag in the Indy Japan 300. Her race to the top spot made her the first woman in history to win an American open wheel racing competition at this level. Notwithstanding several incidents, Patrick managed to stay within the top ten for most of the remainder of the season.

Best Finish by a Woman at the Indy 500


2009 marked another milestone for both Patrick’s career and for women in racing: she bested her earlier performances and those of previous female drivers by placing third at the Indy 500. Patrick also surpassed all other American drivers by finishing in fifth place in the championship standings at the end of that season.

Full-Time for IndyCar and Part-Time for NASCAR


Patrick continued to drive in the IndyCar Series for Andretti Autosport for the next two years and made history by finishing all the season’s races in 2010. She also had her first stock car racing experiences when she spent time competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with JR Motorsports. In fact, she claimed the best finish by a female driver by reaching the fourth spot in the Sam’s Town 300 Nationwide Series in 2011. During this time, Patrick was sponsored by GoDaddy.com in both of these series, and she featured prominently in their provocative ad campaign.

NASCAR


Patrick switched gears in 2012 by concentrating on racing stock cars with NASCAR. She began the season by winning the pole during the first event of the Nationwide Series. She then made her debut in the Sprint Cup Series by driving for Stewart-Hass Racing, and with them she finished within the top forty during the Daytona 500.

Controversy


Patrick’s career has not been without controversy. For instance, some drivers have cited her weight as an unjust advantage while fans have questioned her shift from Indy to NASCAR.

Other Interests


Aside from motorsports, Patrick has dabbled in modeling, hosting and acting. She also released an autobiography and became one of the most recognizable faces in racing.

Accomplishments


Thanks to her skills, ambition and perseverance, Danica Patrick has driven her way to the top of American open-wheel racing to become the most successful woman in the sport.
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