When it comes to proving what women are capable of in racing, former professional racing driver Danica Patrick has set an extremely good example. She is known as the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing. Not only that, but she also had a successful second wind in her career in stock car racing with NASCAR.
Throughout her career, Patrick proved to everyone just how talented she really was. She encountered lots of critics along the way, but she still managed to keep breaking down barriers as a race car driver. On top of that, she’s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, was voted Sexiest Athlete by Victoria’s Secret, has hosted the ESPY Awards, and has even been on TV shows, such as CSI: NY. She’s also dated other famous athletes, including Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (you probably saw the news of their breakup).
Danica has racked up some serious cash over the years, as the former female driver has appeared on Forbes’ 100 Highest Paid Celebrities list four times. Let’s take a look at how she got where she is today.
Danica Patrick Racing Career
When it comes to motorsports, Danica Sue Patrick was hooked from a very young age. Born in Beloit, Wisconsin, she started off as a kart racer by the time she was 10. She saw success early, winning her class in the World Karting Association Grand National Championship three times during the ’90s. She began to get some recognition and convinced her parents to let her drop out of high school at the age of 16 to move to the UK, so she could further develop in the sport. She spent three years there, competing in Formula Vauxhall and Formula Ford along the way, before struggling with funding and returning to the United States in 2001.
Her motivation to race didn’t stop when she returned. By 2002, she began racing for Rahal Letterman Racing, and competed in both the Barber Dodge Pro Series and the Toyota Atlantic Series. She managed to make her way to third place in the championship ranks during the 2004 season, making her the first woman to win a pole position in the series.
Rahal Letterman Racing stuck by her side as she made her debut into the IndyCar Series in 2005. Her efforts that season led to Rookie of the Year honors in both the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series. She spent the next two years in the IndyCar Series driving with RLR before changing teams to Andretti Green Racing.
She grabbed her first IndyCar race win at the 2008 Indy Japan 300, and worked her way up to a sixth place position in the drivers’ standings, improving to fifth the very next season. Grabbing a third place finish at the Indy 500, she had the best performance of any woman at the race. Danica also racked up two other second place finishes, before leaving the Indy racing league to drive stock cars full time.
2010 was Patrick’s first year racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, now known as the Xfinity Series. She saw great results in 2011, locking in a fourth place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the 2012 standings, she placed 10th, making her only the second woman to break into pole position in the series. Patrick then made her way into the Sprint Cup Series, additionally becoming the first woman to get pole position in the series, after setting the fastest qualifying lap for the 2013 Daytona 500. She stopped racing full-time in 2017, but her last year as a NASCAR driver was 2018, before she officially retired.
Danica Patrick Net Worth
Patrick has a whopping estimated net worth of $60 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Now, that’s a pretty solid chunk of change! I can’t say I’m surprised, considering all that she’s done for women along the way. She’s been an idol for some, and a true inspiration to others. I love to see female athletes push to become as great as possible, and it’s safe to say Patrick gave her all during her career.
While her racing career may be over, I wouldn’t be surprised to find her out on the track in the future. She might do the same thing that Tony Stewart did, and find her way back into a race car even after retirement.