Show Me What You Got
“I drive pretty fast even on the highway in my Lamborghini. I don’t like to drive at enormous top speed, but I do like to drive a little bit faster than everyone else. So if everybody on the highway is doing 80, I’ll do 82 or something, and if people are driving 60, I’ll want to do 62. I think there’s something in my blood, in my instincts, that makes me want to overtake.” Danica Patrick (in an interview with Newsweek, 2006)
First exposing herself to the racing world in the go-kart arena, Danica Patrick has become one of the few female IndyCar racers. In 2005, she was named the “IRL Rookie of the Year.” Previously, Patrick sharpened her racing skills in England and scored phenomenal success in such competitions as the Formula Ford Festival and the Toyota Atlantic Championship. However, she still faces negative opinions from several journalists, IndyCar fans and drivers. Some say she benefited from the low body weight and the status of being a female driver. Also, a former racer stated it is a men’s sport, not a women’s.
Outside the race track, Patrick published an autobiography titled “Danica - Crossing the Line” in April 2006. One of the 2006 People Magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People,” the driver once rejected the offer to pose for Playboy. She is married to physical therapist/personal trainer Paul Edward Hospenthal and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Childhood and Family:
Danica Sue Patrick was born on March 25, 1982, in Beloit, Wisconsin. Ten-year old Danica became interested in racing after seeing sister Brooke race as a hobby. Danica dropped out of Hononegah Community High School and earned a GED instead.
Danica is married to physical therapist/personal trainer Paul Edward Hospenthal, whom she first met while treating her injured hip. The couple walked down the aisle on November 19, 2005, in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they now live.
“Everybody loves to cheer for the under dog, and I definitely am. I’m a rookie.” Danica Patrick
In the dawn of the 1990s, Danica Patrick began racing in the go-kart circuit. She then moved to England in 1998 and competed in several open-wheel series, including the Formula Ford and the Formula Vauxhall. She also became the first American and the first woman to reach the second position in the Formula Ford Festival in England. Patrick, who in 2001 won the Gorsline Scholarship award, next participated in the Toyota Atlantic Championship and finished third in its 2004 season.
Returning to the United States, Patrick began driving in the IRL IndyCar Series in 2005. Her first performance in the competition was at the Indianapolis 500, where she started and finished in fourth position. That season, Patrick finished 12th with 325 points. Before long, she was named the “IRL Rookie of the Year.”
In January 2006, Patrick participated in the 24-hour racing competition “Rolex 24 at Daytona.” She, however, had to withdraw from the first race in the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series following the death of teammate Paul Dana. At the end of the 2006 season, Patrick scored a 12th and a 9th place finish in the point standings.
After concluding her four-year partnership with Rahal Letterman Racing, Patrick announced (on July 25, 2006) she signed with Andretti Green Racing. She is set to drive the No.7 Dallara car, replacing racer Bryan Herta, in 2007. Kathleen Finato from Motorola, Inc., which sponsored the Andretti team, commented, “Danica Patrick is changing the rules in motorsports by proving a female driver can be a consistent threat to win at every event. As innovative, stylish and edgy as she is, she’s the perfect ambassador for the Motorola brand.”
Meanwhile, Patrick’s skill and beauty also brought her to the screen, where she recently made a cameo appearance in Jay-Z’s “Show Me What You Got” (2006) video, alongside racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. She also became the inspiration for the newly introduced Tissot limited-edition timepiece called “T-Touch” and appeared in commercials for “Secret” deodorant.
- Indy Racing League: Rookie of the Year, 2005