30 Surprising Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Danica Patrick


Danica Patrick, the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, first started karting at the very early age of ten. Here are some facts about the American former professional racing driver:

  1.  Danica Patrick started go-karting as a hobby at the age of 10 andwent on make a career as the most successful women in the history of American open-wheel racer. She has raced faster and finished higher, than any other women and according to her ‘I was brought up to be fastest driver, not fastest girl.’
  2.  She was born Danica Sue Patrick on March 25, 1982, in Beloit, Wisconsin, United States, to Beverly Ann and Terry Joseph ‘T.J.’ Patrick Jr. She has younger sister, Brooke, a pediatric physical therapist.
  3.  Patrick caught the racing bug from her father, who had sprint car racing as a hobby. Though she hooked on to racing, she continued the everyday student life until leaving for Europe. She was a cheerleader for five years and played volleyball and basketball apart from being part of school choir group and band playing flute.
  4.  Patrick grew up with an appreciation for speed and machinery seeing her father participating in snowmobile race. She was introduced to go-karting at Sugar River Raceway in Brodhead, Wisconsin, with her father as crew chief and her mother race statistician. In her debut race in their parking lot, she hit the wall due to brake failure and flipped over at 20 miles per hour.
  5.  On April 04, 1998, as 16 year old at the St. Petersburg indoor go-karting during a practice she lapped one male driver for the third time in six minutes. He retaliated by ramming her into the red and yellow tire line twice and after the race punched her on the helmet. She punched him right back and when he realized she was girl, he just about died.
  6.  In her first race at Wisconsin’s Sugar River Raceway, Patrick was lapped within six laps by the leader. She gradually improved her eye to foot coordination and by the end of 22 race schedule she was second in points among 20 drivers and had broken the track record by almost a half-second.
  7.  She won ten regional karting titles, and the World Karting Association Grand National Championship in the Yamaha Sportsman, and later HPV class three times in 1994, 1996, and 1997 and was accepted into the Indianapolis based Lyn St. James Foundation Driver Development Program in 1996.
  8.  When the local newspaper and ABC and MTV television ran chronicle of her performances apart from her exploits on the track, she was hired by John Mecom Jr. to compete in the United Kingdom. She ended up attending three driving school, including Track Speed School at Sebring International Raceway and the Formula Ford driving school.
  9.  Patrick at 16 quit school and flew overseas for the first time to Milton Keynes, England, to advance her racing career. As American and female, she met with much opposition but with the support of race drivers such as Jackie Stewart, Jenson Button, she developed a strong sense of independence and learned to overcome adversity.
  10.  In her two-plus year in the United Kingdom, she raced in Formula Vauxhall and Formula Ford, coming ninth in points in the 1999 British Formula Vauxhall Championship. She became the first women to reach the podium at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, finishing second in the 2000 event. Her finish was the highest for an American since Danny Sullivan in 1978.
  11.  In 2001 she was awarded the ‘Gorsline Scholarship Award,’ as the most aspiring road course competitor and was recognized as the top female open wheel race car driver with experience on the international scene.
  12.  On April 13, 2002, she participated in the fund raising ‘Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach,’ of Pro/Celebrity Race, where she defeated Tommy Kendal to win professional class, and was placed third overall despite starting 30 seconds behind the leader on the 1.97-mile street course.
  13.  In 2003 she participated in the Toyota Atlantic Series, driving for Rahal Letterman Racing to become the first woman participant since 1974 and secured the first podium for a woman in the series’ history at the season opening race in Monterey, Mexico, where she finished third. She bettered that result later in the year by finishing second at Miami and finished sixth in points with five top-five finish.
  14.  In 2004 Patrick competed in second full Toyota Atlantic season and finished third in points with ten-top-five finishes in 12 races. In June that year at the Portland International Raceway race, she became the first woman to win a pole position and went on to finish second in race. Runner-up result gave her the point lead, making her the first woman to lead the championship standing.
  15.  In March 6, 2005, she made her debut in the IZOD Indy-Car Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished 15th after being involved in a multi-car accident on lap 159. In April 30 in just her fourth career start, the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, she qualified second and led 32 laps en route to an impressive fourth-place finish and her best for the season.
  16.  At the ‘Inadianapolis 500,’and on May 29, Patrick ended the race fourth after leading for 19 laps, as she was required to conserve the fuel, with 11 laps to go. In the same race she recorded the fastest overall practice speed and qualified fourth, the best starting spot for woman.
  17.  On July 03, 2005, she took her first career pole position at the Kansas Speedway, to become the second woman in ‘Indy-Car Series’ history to achieve the feat after Sarah Fisher in 2002. She took two more pole positions at Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway to match Tomas Scheckter’s record for most pole position in a rookie season.
  18.  She finished her rookie season #12 in points standing with seven top-ten finishes for total of 325 points and was named Indy-Car Series most popular driver. She was named ‘Indianapolis 500 and Indy-Car Series Rookie of the Year 2005.
  19.  On April 20, 2008, Patrick became the first female winner in Indy-Car history by taking the Indy Japan 300 after the top contenders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps and she held on to the position. She won in her 50th career Indy-Car start, taking the lead from Castroneves on the 198th lap in the 200 lap race.
  20.  After returning to Andretti Green Racing for the 2009 season, she took her best career finish in Indianapolis 500 on May 24, by finishing in the third position. The best finish ever for a woman in the historic race.
  21.  Patrick finished the 2009 season fifth overall in the points standing with 393 points, her highest finish to date. The fifth place finish was not only the highest of any Andretti drivers, but of any non-Penske or Chip Ganassi Racing driver for the season. She signed a two-year contract extension to race for the Andretti Autosport team.
  22.  On June 05, 2010, she had the best performance of the season when she finished second after starting eighth at the ‘Firestone 550.’ Later in August at the ‘Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Patrick set a new series record of most consecutive race finish with her 29th event.
  23.  In the 2011 season, racing for JR Motorsports for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5, she finished fourth surpassing Sara Christian’s 62 year old record as the highest finishing woman in NASCAR history.
  24.  In November 2015, at the Fall Martinsville race NASCAR announced a 25 point penalty, $50,000 fine and two month probation for Patrick for stemming from her intentional retaliatory crash against David Gilliland.
  25.  Patrick was scheduled to test for Formula One team Honda in November 2008, but this was called off when the Honda team pulled out of the sport. After series of speculation,she in 2015asserted that she has no desire to move into Formula One, because she is too old to switch racing series.
  26.  She hosted several TV shows on Spike, including ‘Powerblock,’ and featured in the 2005 documentary ‘Girl Racers.’ She was also a guest on the ‘Late Show with David Letterman,’ on April 24, 2008. She has also appeared in ‘GoDaddy’ commercial aired during Super Bowl XLIII, on February 01, 2009.
  27.  Patrick made her acting debut with ‘CSI: NY’ episode aired on February 10, 2010, where she plays race car driver suspected of murder. She also voiced for a cameo role in ‘The Simpsons,’ and for the race car character Rally in Nickelodeon’s Blaze and the Monster Machine 2016 animated series.
  28.  She owns her own brand of wine, called ‘Somnium,’ which means dream in Latin. She also owns her own athleisure collection, called ‘Warrior,’ that was created in partnership with G-III Apparel Group.
  29.  Patrick co-wrote several books including the memoir ‘Crossing the Line,’ in 2006 and ‘Pretty Intense: The 90-Day Mind, Body, and Food Plan that Will Absolutely Change Your Life,' in 2017.
  30.  In 2005, Patrick married physical therapist Paul Edward Hospenthal, whom she met in 2002, while recovering from hip injury. They divorced in 2013 and since then she was in relationship with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Aaron Rodgers.
  31.  Danica Patrick Net Worth: $60 Million

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