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Danica Sue Patrick (born March 25, 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsinmarker) is an Americanmarker auto racing driver, currently competing in the IndyCar Series, as well as a model and advertising spokeswoman. She was raised in Roscoemarker, Illinoismarker. Patrick was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. In May 2006, she published her autobiography, Danica: Crossing the Line. With her win in the 2008 Indy Japan 300, Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy car race. Patrick currently drives the #7 Boost Mobile/GoDaddy.commarker Honda/Dallara for Andretti Autosport. She also has an equity stake in her #7 team. She placed 3rd in the 2009 Indianapolis 500, which was both a personal best for her at the track and the highest finish by a woman in the event's history.

Early racing career

Patrick began go-karting in 1992 at the age of 10, and went on to win several World Karting Association championships. She moved to England at the age of 16 in order to advance her racing career. Patrick raced in Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall, earning a second-place finish in Britain's Formula Ford Festival, the highest finish by a woman in the event.

In 2002, Patrick started driving for Rahal Letterman Racing in the United States. After making several starts in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, she moved to the Toyota Atlantic Championship for 2003. Patrick won one pole position and was a consistent podium finisher (top three); however, she never won a race. In 2004, Patrick finished third in the Championship.

IRL IndyCar Series

2005

After the 2004 racing season, Rahal Letterman Racing officially announced that Patrick would drive in the IRL IndyCar Series for 2005.

On May 29, 2005, Patrick became only the fourth woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500marker, following Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher. After posting the fastest practice speed of the month ( ) during the morning practice session on the first day of qualifications (May 15), she made an error in the first turn of her first qualifying lap, and failed to capture the pole position, which instead went to Tony Kanaan. Patrick's fourth starting position, however, was still the highest ever attained for the race by a female driver.Patrick became the first female driver to lead the race at Indianapolismarker, first when acquiring it for a lap near the mark while cycling through pit stops, and late in the race when she stayed out one lap longer than her rivals during a set of green-flag pit stops. Patrick overcame two crucial errors to finish fourth in the race, the same position in which she started: Patrick's car stalled in the pits about halfway through the race, dropping her to the middle of the field; and shortly after reclaiming a spot in the top 10, Patrick spun on a caution period just before an intended green flag leading to a four car accident. The accident caused damage to Patrick's car that was limited to the nose and front wing. Her pit crew promptly made repairs, and due to the subsequent yellow, Patrick was able to rejoin the field having lost only one position. When the leaders pitted for fuel on lap 172, Patrick stayed out to take the lead. On lap 194, eventual race winner and 2005 series champion Dan Wheldon passed her as she was forced to slow in order to conserve fuel. Patrick was subsequently passed by both Bryan Herta and her teammate Vitor Meira. Patrick's fourth place was the highest ever finish for a female driver at the Indy 500, besting the previous record of ninth set by Janet Guthrie in 1978. Patrick led 19 laps overall.

On July 2, 2005, Patrick won her first pole position, leading a 1-2-3 sweep by Rahal Letterman Racing at Kansas Speedwaymarker. She became the second woman to accomplish this feat in the IndyCar Series, the first being Sarah Fisher in 2002 at Kentucky Speedwaymarker. On August 13, 2005, she won her second pole at Kentucky Speedway, although this time, rain prematurely ended qualifying and position was determined by speeds achieved during practice. She took a third pole at Chicagoland Speedwaymarker which tied her with Tomas Scheckter's record for number of pole positions earned in a rookie season.

In 2005, Patrick finished 12th in the IndyCar Series championship, with 325 points. She was named Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season.

During the offseason following the 2005 racing year, Patrick competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona along with co-driver Rusty Wallace in January 2006.

2006

Patrick competed in the 2006 IndyCar Series season giving her another chance at qualifying and racing in the Indianapolis 500. In the first race of the season, the Toyota Indy 300 at Homesteadmarker, Patrick qualified third behind the Penske Racing teammates of Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr. However, tragedy struck as RLR teammate Paul Dana was killed in a crash during practice the morning of the race. Patrick and Buddy Rice withdrew from the race immediately. The two resumed their 2006 IndyCar campaign with the second race of the year at St. Petersburgmarker

At the Indy 500, Patrick started eighth and finished eighth. After Watkins Glen, RLR switched to the Dallara chassis and the team struggled to adapt. Patrick struggled to remain competitive, but her fourth place finishes at Nashville and Milwaukee tied her career best IndyCar finishes. At Michigan, Patrick's car ran out of fuel with three laps to go and she fell to 17th. She rebounded at Kentucky and Infineon to finish 8th in both races.

In her final race with RLR at Chicagoland, Patrick recorded a 12th place finish and a 9th place finish in the IndyCar Series Championship point standings, besting her 12th place points finish as a rookie.

In November, the March of Dimes awarded her the title of Sportswoman of the Year in celebration of her dedication and success .

2007

On July 25, 2006, Patrick announced she had signed a deal to drive for Andretti Autosport, replacing Bryan Herta in the number 7 Dallara Honda car beginning in 2007. Patrick's car is sponsored by Motorola, XM radio and Go Daddymarker.

In Patrick's first race with Andretti Autosport at Homesteadmarker on March 24 she finished 14th after crashing into the pit wall on lap 154. She finished 8th at St. Petemarker and 11th at Japan. At Kansas she had her best finish of the year at that point, finishing 7th.

In April 2007, Patrick launched her official fan club The Danica Maniacs to help foster greater interaction between her and her fans.

Patrick ended up starting and finishing eighth in the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500. She ran as high as 2nd to Tony Kanaan after the mid-race rain delay. After a pit stop, she dropped back in the field. Patrick was working her way back to the front until the race was ended under the caution caused by Marco Andretti's accident due to the subsequent rain on lap 166.

At Milwaukee, Patrick started second to last but moved up quickly to 5th before contact with Dan Wheldon. Patrick managed to save the car from hitting anything but the wreck caused aerodynamic damage. She used a timely caution to get back on the lead lap and finish 8th. After the race she and Wheldon had a heated exchange after she tried to confront him about the wreck.

Following the incident at Milwaukee, Patrick rebounded with a career night at Texasmarker in the Bombardier Learjet 550. She ran with the lead pack throughout the entire race and led a race for the first time since 2005. She finished less than a second behind winner Sam Hornish, Jr., a then career-best third, her first "podium" finish.

Her good fortune would only be temporary as she was involved in one of the several crashes at Iowa to finish 13th. She would however rebound at Richmond to run in the top 10 all night before finishing 6th.

She followed that up with an 11th place finish at Watkins Glen before running in the top 5 all day and finishing 3rd at Nashville. At Mid-Ohio she finished 5th (her best career road course finish) despite being involved in a lap 1 accident that sent her into the grass briefly.

Patrick continued to have bad luck at Michigan International Speedwaymarker as previous years have seen Patrick retire from the race early due to fuel and other troubles. At the 2007 running, a flat tire in the late portion of the race forced Patrick to pit and dropped her to a 7th place finish.

Her terrible luck would continue at Kentucky as she ran in the lead group all night and appeared headed towards another podium finish when she spun out exiting pit road with less than 50 laps to go. After restarting from that spin, a rear tire on Patrick's car blew leading to a crash and forcing her to retire from the race.

Her luck would get a little better at Infineon as she ran in the top 10 and finished 6th. However a series of slow pit stops kept her from what could have been an even better finish.

At Belle Islemarker, Patrick started 11th and was involved in two accidents from which she was able to restart without damage, eventually driving to the front and leading 9 laps of the race before falling back after having to pit. On the final lap, while Patrick was running in 5th, Buddy Rice, Scott Dixon and teammate Dario Franchitti were involved in an accident immediately in front of her. Patrick was able to avoid the wreck and finish in second place, a career-high in the IndyCar Series and tying her with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Sarah Fisher for best finish in IndyCar racing by a female.

At the season finale in Chicagoland Speedwaymarker, Patrick ran most of the race in the top 6, but had to make a pit stop for fuel with 7 laps to go. When entering pit lane, Patrick spun-out but avoided damage to her car. With assistance from her pit crew, Patrick was able to refire the engine, make a complete pit stop and reenter the race, finishing 11th overall.

For the 2007 season as a whole, Patrick scored her first three career podium finishes to finish with 4 top 5's and 11 top 10's while leading 17 laps on the season. She also scored her career best championship points finish of 7th with 424 points.

2008

Patrick won her first IRL race at the 2008 Indy Japan 300, and became first woman to win an IndyCar Series race.
To begin the 2008 season, her second with Andretti Autosport, Patrick scored her best career Homestead finish of 6th. She followed that up with another top 10 by scoring a 10th place finish at St. Petersburgmarker.

Patrick won at Twin Ring Motegimarker in the Indy Japan 300 on April 20, 2008, becoming the first woman to win an IndyCar race, joining the ranks of drag racer Shirley Muldowney, who won three NHRA Top Fuel Championships, as a "first female" winner in the top tier of American motorsports. Patrick took the Indy Japan 300 after the race leaders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps. She finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of the Brazilian pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, who ran out of fuel in the final turns on the Twin Ring Motegi oval.

Her team owner, Michael Andretti, commented, "I'm thrilled for her that the monkey is finally off of her back."

A mechanical problem late in the race RoadRunner Turbo 300 at Kansas Speedway forced Patrick to retire early from the race.

During practice for the 2008 Indianapolis 500, Patrick's car struck a member of Dale Coyne Racing's pit crew when she came into the pits on May 9. During the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, 2008, she retired from the race early after a collision in the pitlane. As Ryan Briscoe exited his pitbox the two cars collided, damaging Patrick's left rear suspension and eliminating both from the race. After being pushed back to her own pit, Patrick left her car and headed down pit road towards Briscoe's pit at which point IMSmarker security intervened, preventing an on-track confrontation.

Following Indy, Patrick finished 9th at Milwaukee and 10th at Texas, with both races ending under yellow flag conditions. At Iowa and Richmond she stayed out of the many crashes during these races and finished 6th in each event.

Overall, she finished the 2008 IndyCar Series season in sixth place - the highest championship finish among American drivers for the 2008 season.

During the offseason following the 2008 racing year, Patrick made her second appearance in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2009

2009



On May 24, Patrick raced at the Indianapolis 500. She finished third behind winner Helio Castroneves and second-place Dan Wheldon.It was her best finish in five attempts, one spot better than her 2005 finish, and a new record high finish for a female driver in the race. The following weekend in Milwaukee Patrick raced to 5th position at the flag. On June 6, she finished the Bombardier Learjet 550 in 6th place, dropping her to fifth place in the IndyCar Series point standings.

Patrick began the season with the Motorola sponsorship from her previous two seasons with AGR, however her car was rebranded for Boost Mobile following the Kansas race. The changes were made public with a drive down the tarmac at the Indianapolis International Airport.

In what was a difficult Honda Indy Torontomarker qualifying and practice for the entire Andretti Autosport team, Patrick started the race in the 18th position (her teammates also starting in the rear of the field in 17th, 20th, and 22nd). Patrick had the best finish of the Andretti Autosport team moving up 12 positions to finish 6th, putting her only three points behind Castroneves for the 4th position in the 2009 points championship.

Danica finished the season 5th overall in the point standings, her highest finish to date. This 5th place finish was not only the highest of any of the Andretti Autosport drivers, but of any non-Penske or Ganassi driver for the 2009 season.

Formula One speculations

In the end of 2008, Patrick was scheduled to test for Formula One team Honda in November 2008, however this was ultimately called off due to the Honda F1 pullout. Future American F1 team Team US F1 has allegedly considered testing Patrick for 2010. However, she has stated that she has not been contacted by anyone from the new American-based Formula One team and has no plans to leave the IndyCar Series for Formula One at this time.

Controversy

There has been much controversy over Danica Patrick's presence in auto racing and her success in promoting herself as a female driver. Some drivers and racing professionals have supported her and other women drivers, and others have been resistant to the influx of women in the sport. Several male drivers have made negative comments about Patrick's ability, as a woman, to race successfully. Former driver Richard Petty responded, in a separate interview, by stating, "I just don't think it's a sport for women, and so far, it's proved out. It's really not. It's good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity, it gives them publicity. But as far as being a real true racer, making a living out of it, it's kind of tough."

However, after Patrick's IRL win, she was praised by many drivers. NASCAR driver and former IRL champion Tony Stewart, for example, said "I think obviously she's got talent; she's been successful in every form of racing she's been in so far and I don't see why she wouldn't be successful here [in NASCAR]." On September 5, 2009 it was reported that Danica will join NASCAR in 2010. She will reportedly participate in a significant number of Nationwide Series races and some Trucks and ARCA races without leaving IndyCar. On November 4th 2009, It was reported that she is close to signing a 2 year deal with JR Motorsports to drive part time in ARCA and Nationwide Series.

Motorsports career results

American Open-Wheel

()

IndyCar

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Rank Points
2005 Rahal Letterman
HMS
15


PHX
15


STP
12


MOT
4


INDY
4


TXS
13


RIR
10


KAN
9


NSH
7


MIL
19


MIS
20


KTY
16


PPIR
8


SNM
20


CHI
6


WGL
16


FON
18

12th 325
2006 Rahal Letterman
HMS
Wth1


STP
6


MOT
8


INDY

8

WGL
8


TXS
12


RIR
15


KAN
11


NSH
4


MIL
4


MIS
17


KTY
8


SNM
8


CHI
12

9th 302
2007 Andretti Autosport
HMS
14


STP
8


MOT
11


KAN
7


INDY
8


MIL
8


TXS
3


IOW
13


RIR
6


WGL
11


NSH
3


MDO
5


MIS
7


KTY
16


SNM
6


DET
2


CHI
11

7th 424
2008 Andretti Autosport
HMS
6


STP
10


MOT2
1


LBH2
DNP


KAN
19


INDY
22


MIL
9


TXS
10


IOW
6


RIR
6


WGL
14


NSH
5


MDO
12


EDM
18


KTY
11


SNM
5


DET
16


CHI
10


SRF3
18

6th 379
2009 Andretti Autosport
STP
19


LBH
4


KAN
5


INDY
3


MIL
5


TXS
6


IOW
9


RIR
5


WGL
11


TOR
6


EDM
11


KTY
8


MDO
19


SNM
16


CHI
12


MOT
6


HMS
19

5th 393


1 Rahal-Letterman Racing withdrew both Patrick and Buddy Rice from competition when their teammate Paul Dana was killed in a race-morning practice session accident.
2 Because of Reunification prior to the start of the 2008 IRL season, a compromise was established where teams were permitted to run either the Indy Japan 300 on April 20 with the IRL formula and rules or the Long Beach Grand Prixmarker the same day with the old Champ Car formula and rules. Both races were for full IRL points.
3 Non-points race


Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(Non-win)**
Top 10s
(Non-podium)***
Indianapolis 500
Wins
Championships
5 2 81 3 1 4 41 0 0
** Podium (Non-win) indicates 2nd or 3rd place finishes.
*** Top 10s (Non-podium) indicates 4th through 10th place finishes.


Indy 500 results

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
2005 Panoz Honda 4 4 Rahal Letterman
2006 Panoz Honda 10 8 Rahal Letterman
2007 Dallara Honda 8 8 Andretti Autosport
2008 Dallara Honda 5 22 Andretti Autosport
2009 Dallara Honda 10 3 Andretti Autosport


Media work

Patrick at the 2007 Red Dress Collection for the Heart Truth campaign.


Patrick has hosted several TV shows on Spike TV, including the "Powerblock", and she was featured in the 2005 documentary Girl Racers. On the August 23, 2007 episode of Diggnation, hosts Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose shot live at Infineon Raceway, where they were treated to a lap around the track in the IndyCar Safety Car driven by Patrick. On April 24, 2008, Patrick was a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night With Conan O'Brien on April 25, 2008.

Patrick was featured on the cover of the June 6, 2005 issue of Sports Illustrated, making her the first Indianapolis 500 driver on the cover since Al Unser, in victory lane, following his upset fourth victory in 1987. After her participation in the 2005 Indianapolis 500, she was asked by Playboy to have her pictures taken to be published in a future edition of its magazine. She declined the offer, but she did participate in a "20 Questions" interview with Jason Buhrmester for the magazine's July 2007 issue. She had also previously posed for FHM, appearing in the April 2003 issue. She was on the cover of the September/October 2006 issue of travelgirl magazine and the October 2006 issue of American Libraries. Patrick appears in the February 15, 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She is featured in a 4-page photo spread.

She appeared in commercials for Secret deodorant in 2005 and 2006 until she was replaced by Rihanna in 2007. She also appeared in Jay-Z's music video "Show Me What You Got," where she drives a Pagani Zonda Roadster. A spot for the Honda Civic Coupe features Patrick trying to avoid a speeding ticket.
Patrick on Pole Day at Indy, 2007.
Patrick was featured in an ESPN "This Is SportsCenter" commercial, which showed then-anchor Dan Patrick towing her IndyCar due to a reserved space misunderstanding (the space in question being reserved for "D. Patrick"). She can also be seen in award winning corporate training videos Four Weeks In May and T.E.A.M.W.O.R.K.

During testing at Phoenix International Racewaymarker, GoDaddy filmed a commercial with Patrick that has also aired nationally. During the same test, at the invitation of GoDaddy, Patrick met with Paul Teutul, Sr. and Mikey Teutul, and subsequently appeared on an episode of American Chopper. Patrick was also in a 2008 "inspirational, feel-good" Go Daddy commercial called "Kart" that features a young girl who aspires to be like Patrick. On February 1, 2009, Patrick appeared in two GoDaddy.commarker commercials advertised during Super Bowl XLIII. The Most Watched Super Bowl commercial of 2009, according to TiVo, was Patrick's "Enhancement" ad for GoDaddy.com.

Recently she was voted sexiest athlete in Victoria's Secret "What is Sexy" list. Patrick also was voted #42 in 2006 and #85 in 2007 in FHM's 100 sexiest women in the world.

Patrick made a second appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in February 2009, posing with a Shelby Cobra 427.

Patrick is represented by IMG talent agency.

Recently starred in a Boost Mobile commercial to advertise their prepaid unlimited telephone plans.

Personal life

Patrick's parents, T.J. and Bev Patrick, met on a blind date at a snowmobile event in the 1970s when Bev was a mechanic for a friend's snowmobile. T.J. raced snowmobiles, motocross, and midget cars. They have owned a Java Hut and a plate glass company.

Prior to getting into auto racing, she was a cheerleader at Hononegah Community High School near Beloit in 1996. She dropped out of high school and attained a GED.

Currently, T.J. helps his daughter by driving her motor coach and managing her Web site and merchandise trailer and Bev handles Patrick's business affairs. Patrick is married to Paul Edward Hospenthal, who had previously been her physical therapist while she was recovering from a yoga injury. She converted to Roman Catholicism upon marrying Hospenthal in 2005.

She won the 2008 Kids Choice Award for favorite female athlete.

She has received two speeding tickets in her hometown of Scottsdale, Arizonamarker. The first, in 2007, was for driving in a zone, for which she was ordered to attend traffic school; the second, in 2008, was for going in a zone, and she paid a $196 fine.

References

  1. Sportswoman of the Year
  2. The New York Times: "As Patrick's Star Rises, I.R.L. Is Along for Ride"
  3. Slate: "Queen for a Day Danica Patrick just won her first race, but is she a great driver?"
  4. Autosport: "NASCAR Drivers Praise Patrick"
  5. AFP: "Danica Patrick races into history by beating men at their game"
  6. Vision Racing Menards Honda DriverEd Carpenter( ) and Formula One driver Jenson Button( ) have also criticised Patrick based on her gender.
  7. Danica Patrick In Playboy This Summer
  8. Danica Patrick strikes a pose for 'SI' swimsuit issue
  9. AZCentral.com
  10. 'Enhancement' ad Super Bowl's most watched
  11. The Adam Carolla Podcast, 04-17-2009
  12. Danica Patrick and Paul Hospenthal Marriage Profile - Retrieved 4-22-2008
  13. Getreligion.com - Breaking news: Sex sells. Retrieved on 2009-02-14
  14. Danica Patrick - Kids Choice for Fave Female Athlete
  15. Kids Choose Miley, Johnny, Jessica
  16. Stars Get Slimed At Kids' Choice Awards 2008
  17. Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards 2008
  18. Danica Patrick Paid $196 To Settle a Speeding ticket. SI.com, January 2, 2009




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