If you were following Nascar in 2005, then you couldn’t help but hear about Danika Patrick. She was on the cover of every magazine and she was on the tip of nearly every tongue. Well, it’s not something you can really get upset about, after all, she is one of the first well known women in stock car racing, but that hasn’t stopped many from being in an uproar about it. It seems that many in the stock racing community have a vendetta against her, but that hasn’t stopped her from rising to the top in style. So, who is she, and where did she come from?
Patrick’s Early Start
At the age of ten, Danika Patrick began racing at the Sugar River Raceway in Brodhead Wisconsin, and in 1997, she was introduced to John Mecon Jr, a former Indy 500 team owner. It was here that her career would really start, as he arranged for her to race Formula Fords in the UK. She moved to Milton Keynes, England, and raced formula Fords for three years. Finally, she managed to grab the highest finish ever, by an American in Britain’s Formula Ford Festival, finishing second place. Considering her job in the UK done, she returned to the United States in 2002, and eventually moved to the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Though she never won a race, she did finish third in 2004.
IndyCar – Her First Real Impact
This is where the world really started to learn about Danika Patrick, as she burst onto the scene and was announced as a driver for the IRL IndyCar Series, 2005. There were three other women who had raced before her, Janet Guthrie, Sarah Fisher, and Lyn St James. In 2012, Patrick became just one of two women to have competed in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.
Danika Patrick Today
Today, Danika Patrick is competing full time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and on race day you can find her behind the wheel of a Ford Fusion, racing for Stewart-Haas. If you remember, back in 2013, she became the first female driver to score the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pole, ultimately qualifying for the Daytona 500. There is much more to this than just NASCAR, to be quite honest. Danica Patrick is a great driver, but she is also helping to advance the cause of feminism and equality by proving that a woman can in fact do the same job as a man, and can succeed in a male dominated sport. There’s no telling what the future will bring, but it will certainly be interesting.