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#7 - Danica Patrick
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Launch date August 4, 2009.  Hosted by Yahoo
Birthdate: March 25, 1982
Hometown: Roscoe, Ill
Team: Andretti Autosport
Born in Beloit, Wisconsin, on March 25, 1982, Danica Patrick grew up in a loving household with parents T.J. and
Bev and sister Brooke. Danica Patrick's need for speed was not obvious from the get-go as, like many young
girls, she loved to play with Barbie dolls as a child.
At the age of 10, however, Danica Patrick got a glimpse into a world she would come to love. She accompanied
her sibling on a trip to a go-karting lesson and quickly fell in love with sitting behind the wheel of a speedy
vehicle. While sister Brooke soon abandoned racing, Danica Patrick was hooked, and she soon joined the World
Karting Association (WKA).
Within two years' time, Danica Patrick had become a racing fiend, and in 1994 she captured the WKA Grand
National Championship in the Yamaha Sportsman class. She won additional karting titles in 1995 and 1996, and
soon had established herself as a rising star. Her final season in the WKA came in 1997, and she went out with a
bang, winning the Grand National Championship in both the Yamaha Lite and HPV classes.
danica patrick joins formula vauxhall
The next step in Danica Patrick's career was a big one. She upgraded her competition and joined the Formula
Vauxhall Winter Series, moving to England in order to do so. Over the course of 1998, Danica Patrick kept up
only an abbreviated racing schedule in the UK, because she was also spending time fine-tuning her technique at
the Formula Ford racing school in Canada.
Therefore, it was in 1999 that Danica Patrick made her true British racing debut. She finished her first full
season in ninth place, then showed vast improvement by finishing second the next year at the Formula Ford
Festival, the best-ever finish by an American at the British event.
In 2001, her last year in England, Danica Patrick made a name back home in the U.S. She won the Gorsline
Scholarship Award for Top Upcoming Road Racing Driver and competed in the tough British Zetek Formula
Ford Championship. On the heels of these feats, Danica Patrick was touted as the top female open-wheel driver
with international experience.
With a long list of accomplishments to her credit, Danica Patrick had the leverage to move up to the prestigious
Indy Racing League. After trying out for many teams, she finally signed a multi-year contract with Rahal
Letterman Racing (of which David Letterman is part owner) in 2002. To prep her for the heightened
competitiveness of this league, she was sent to race in the Toyota Atlantic series for two years.
Settling into her new job in 2003, Danica Patrick impressed both her team and the competition. She became the
first woman in Toyota series history to win a pole position and reach the podium. In 2004, she placed third in the
Toyota Atlantic Championship and was ready to officially race in the IRL.
Danica Patrick became a third driver for Rahal Letterman Racing, making her big-time debut at the 2005
Toyota Indy 300. Though she was knocked out of the race on the 158th lap, Danica showed signs of brilliance
during her rookie campaign, highlighted by an excellent running at the league's biggest race, the Indianapolis
500.
Danica Patrick was only the fourth woman to race in the Indy 500, and the hype surrounding her participation
grew each day. Despite all the pressure, she led for a total of 19 laps during the famed event, before falling back
in the race's waning moments and finishing fourth. Still, Danica-mania had officially arrived.
In July 2006, Danica Patrick announced that she'd signed a deal to race with Andretti Green Racing. For the 2007
season, she scored her first three career podium finishes to finish with four top 5s and 11 top 10s. She scored her
career best championship points finish of 7th with 424 points.
She also placed on FHM's 100 Sexiest Women Of The World,
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