MAKERS Profile

Danica Patrick

Champion Race Car Driver

In this video

Danica Patrick on racing go-karts in her youth, the short history of women racers, and her groundbreaking win.
Danica Patrick is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, and is one of the most famous and recognized female athletes in the world. She is the only woman to ever win in the IndyCar series as well as holding the highest finish by a woman (3rd place) at the Indianapolis 500.   Growing up in Roscoe, Illinois, Patrick started go-kart racing at the age of ten, and became a world go-karting champion by her mid-teens. She left high school at the age of 16 to move to England to train for and race in the British national series, where she earned a second-place in Britain's Formula Ford Festival, the highest finish ever by an American.   After returning to the States, Patrick started driving for Rahal Letterman Racing, and in 2005 she became only the fourth woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500. She led the race for 19 laps, a first for any woman in racing. Patrick was subsequently named Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. She continued to make history with her first place finish at the Indy Japan 300 on April 20, 2008, becoming the first woman ever to win an Indy car race. She later 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. Patrick holds the IRL record for most consecutive races running at the finish.   In 2010, Patrick began racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and in 2012, Patrick left the IndyCar series to compete full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports and part-time in the Sprint Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing. She continues to set records for women in racing, and remains a sought-after advertising spokesperson and model.

More From Danica

Racing NASCAR
Patrick explains how her move to NASCAR happily brings her back to her racing roots.

A Family of Racers
Auto racing was something that strongly bonded the Patrick family when Danica was young.

Embracing Standing Out
Patrick on how she got over the fear that showing her feminine side would diminish others respect for her as a driver.

The Photo Shoot Double Standard
Patrick reflects on the double standard that confronts women versus men when they show a sexier side.

The Upside to Being a Female Racer
Patrick discusses how being a woman in a male-dominated sport has had some important benefits.

Let Kids Experiment
Patrick urges parents to let their kids try lots of different hobbies to find what they're truly good at.  It may be the unexpected.

Raised to Be Yourself
Patrick's parents never pushed their two daughters into typically feminine pursuits, and let them explore whatever came naturally.

The Right Time for Motherhood
Patrick considers how times have changed when it comes to assumptions about having children.

A Real Partner
Patrick remembers the start of her relationship with her husband Paul, and how he balances her out and supports her on the road.

The Zone
What's it like to drive at 200 miles per hour?  Patrick gives a window into the experience of racing.

The Girl’s the Quickest
Patrick describes, as a teenager, dealing with male peers who didn't like being beaten by a girl.

Ambition, a Good Word
Patrick avows the value of "ambition", and is puzzled that some women don't see it as a positive trait.