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Danica Patrick (born March 25, 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsin) is an American auto racing driver competing in the IndyCar Series. Patrick was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. While, as of April 2007, she has won three pole positions, she has never won an automobile race; her race wins and championships have all been in go karts. In May 2006, she published her autobiography, Danica: Crossing the Line.
Danica Patrick began gokarting in 1992 at Sugar River Raceway outside of Brodhead, Wisconsin and went on to win several national championships. She moved to England at the age of 16 in order to advance her racing career. She has also earned a GED. Focusing primarily on road racing, Patrick raced in several developmental open-wheel series while in Europe, including Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall. A big achievement was finishing second in England’s super-competitive Formula Ford Festival, the highest-ever finish by either a woman or an American in the event.
In 2002, Patrick signed a multi-year deal to race for the team of Bobby Rahal. After making several starts in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, she moved to the Toyota Atlantic Championship for 2003. Driving for the highly regarded Rahal Letterman team with sponsorship from Argent, Patrick achieved moderate success in the Toyota Atlantic series. During her time in Atlantics, she won one pole and was a consistent finisher on the podium (top three); however, she never won a race. In 2004, Patrick finished third in the Championship.
After the 2004 racing season, following much speculation as to where Patrick would race in 2005, during the off season, Rahal Letterman Racing officially announced that Patrick would drive in the IRL IndyCar Series for 2005.
On May 29, 2005, Patrick became only the fourth woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, following Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, and Sarah Fisher. After posting the fastest practice speed of the month (229.880 mph / 369.956 km/h) during the morning practice session for the first day of qualifications (May 15), she made an error in the first turn of her first qualifying lap, and failed to capture the pole position, which instead went to Tony Kanaan. Patrick’s fourth starting position, however, was still the highest ever attained for the race by a female driver.
Patrick became the first female driver to lead the race at Indianapolis, first when acquiring it for a lap near the 125 mile mark while cycling through pit stops, and late in the race when she stayed out one lap longer than her rivals during a set of green-flag pit stops. Patrick overcame two crucial blunders to finish fourth in the race, the same position in which she started. Her car stalled in the pits about halfway through the 500-mile race, dropping her to the middle of the field. Shortly after reclaiming a spot in the top 10, Patrick spun on a caution period just before an intended green flag, causing a four car accident. The accident caused damage to the nose and front wing of her car. Her pit crew promptly made repairs, and due to the subsequent yellow, was able to rejoin having lost only one place. When the leaders pitted for fuel on lap 172, Patrick took the lead once more, lost it on lap 184, and then regained it on a restart with 11 laps to go. However, as she had not pitted for fuel, Patrick needed one more long yellow in order to reach the finish without having to refuel. On lap 194, eventual race winner and 2005 series champion Dan Wheldon passed her as she was forced to slow in order to conserve fuel, and she was quickly passed by both Bryan Herta and her teammate Vitor Meira. Patrick’s fourth place was the highest ever finish for a female driver at the Indy 500, besting the previous record of ninth set by Janet Guthrie in 1978. Patrick led 19 laps overall.
In 2005, she finished 12th in the IndyCar Series championship, with 325 points.
On July 2, 2005, Patrick won her first pole position, leading a 1,2,3 sweep by Rahal Letterman Racing at Kansas Speedway. She became the second woman to accomplish this feat in the IndyCar Series, the first being Sarah Fisher in 2002 at Kentucky Speedway. On August 13, 2005, she won her second pole at Kentucky Speedway, although this time, rain prematurely ended qualifying and position was determined by speeds achieved during practice.
In January 2006, Patrick competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona along with co-driver Rusty Wallace. The 24 hour event was her longest race to date.
She competed in the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series giving her another chance at qualifying and racing in the Indianapolis 500. In the first race of the season, the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead Miami Speedway, Patrick qualified in third behind the Penske Racing teammates of Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr.
Danica Patrick is featured along with team leader Bobby Rahal in the program "Four Weeks In May."
Excerpts from this biography is taken from Wikipedia and is copyright Wikipedia.