Danica Sue Patrick was born into an American racing family. Her father raced midget cars, motocross and snowmobiles. Her mother applied her talents as a mechanic for the snowmobiles of racing friends. As a child, Patrick started out racing go-karts. At the age of 16, she moved from Wisconsin to England to further her career racing in British events. Patrick’s mom and dad assisted her pursuits by driving the motor coach, managing the web site, merchandising and serving as manager.
Multiple news articles have labeled Patrick as, "the most successful female in the history of open wheel racing." Her title is due to a 2008 win at the Indy Japan 300, a third place win at the 2009 Indianapolis 500 and a 2013 win at a Nascar Sprint Cup Series Pole. Some drivers complain that her low body weight gives Patrick an unfair advantage.
Patrick has endured numerous misfortunes during her racing career. Although she completed the race with a respectable 5th place, at Mid-Ohio in 2007, an accident caused her car to temporarily leave the track. She argued with Dan Wheldon at a race in Milwaukee in 2007, due to the two cars bumping during the race resulting in an 8th place finish for Patrick. She was also involved in a crash in Iowa in 2007. Later that year, she crashed in Kentucky after a tire blew out. In 2008, after a collision with Ryan Briscoe, which knocked both drivers out of the race, an angry Patrick briskly walked toward Briscoe’s pit area for a confrontation. Security prevented the confrontation and the drivers were fined $100,000 each.
The public was disgruntled with Patrick after she blamed the car for poor performance during the Indianapolis 500 in 2010. Winning performances since 2010, including leading a green flag lap at the Daytona 500, placed the female driver back in the public’s favor. Patrick will be without a sponsor at the end of the 2015 racing season, as GoDaddy will not be renewing her contract.
However, Fox NASCAR has hired Patrick as an analyst for the 2015 Xfinity races. The future looks bright for Danica Patrick, the most successful female in the history of open wheel racing.
*Photo courtesy of Danica Patrick: Got Luck by Pit Stop Post at Flickr’s Creative Commons.