Danica Sue Patrick, the nations most successful and highest profiled female professional race driver, has announced her retirement from the sport. After a crash in last Friday’s Monster Energy Cup race in Homestead FL, the 35 year old Wisconsin native officially called an end to her full time racing career after rumors had been circulating for several months that she would be moving on to a new life. She will compete in both the 2018 Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Patricia first gained national attention in 2005 by winning Rookie of the Year honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by both starting and finishing in fourth place. Patrick processes a models good looks and an eye catching figure which she has displayed in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit addition as well as several other magazine bikini shoots. In fact, she has been criticized for trading in on her beauty for her racing career. Some drivers including both Richard and Kyle Petty have claimed that because of willingness to be a “Sex Symbol” she has gotten opportunities that other more talented male race drivers have been denied.
In 2008, Patrick became the first female winner of an IndyCar event with a 1st at Indy Japan 300. In 2009, she finished 3rd at the Indy 500 the best finish any female driver has ever done in the event. In 2010, she competed in her first NASCAR/Nationwise event and 2011 both the IndyCar and Nationwise series. Her last IndyCar race was the 2011 Las Vegas Indy 300 in which her close friend Dan Weldon was killed. In 2012, she started racing for Stewart/Haas exclusively in the NASCAR series. Her biggest Cup series moment came when she won the pole at the 2013 Daytona 500. Her best Cup finish was at the Oral-B 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2014.
Both Daytona and IMS have been good tracks for Danica. In her seven starts at the Indy 500 she was a top ten finisher all seven times. Quite an accomplishment. She has always been counted among the top women in sports and is a real role model for young women athletes. She is a health and fitness advocate as well as being a gourmet cook. She has already worked as an expert color commentator for several racing events so that is probably where her career path will take her. She has a new book coming out in January called “Pretty: Intense.”
Sadly with her retirement from the sport, there does not appear to be any female diver to pick up the torch and take her place. It looks that for a while at least, the guys will have it all to themselves again and that’s a shame.
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