Pushing the Limits: Danica Patrick's Drive to the Top

By Medley, Michelle | Success, September 2009 | Go to article overview

Pushing the Limits: Danica Patrick's Drive to the Top


Medley, Michelle, Success


DANICA

Patrick thrives on the chase. Driving for Andretti Green Racing, she's always in the hunt, whether it's climbing up in the rankings, reigniting fan interest in IndyCar or amping up her ad campaigns. She is both one of the most recognized and scrutinized female athletes in the United States for doing what she loves: pushing the limits.

Yet as Patrick chases the dream--to win races, the Indy 500, an IRL championship--veteran drivers are roaring along with her like jets on takeoff, going wheel to wheel, 2 inches apart at 220 mph in the heart-thudding world of open-wheel racing. She makes her living being chased. She knows it. She feels the media and marketing pros jockeying for position.

"I play hard. I always have and always will," 27-year-old Patrick says in her 2006 autobiography, Danica: Crossing the Line, written with Laura Morton and published by Fireside. "My competitive spirit never allowed me to lay back and let anyone win. It still doesn't. I hope it never will." As a successful female driver in a predominantly male sport, Patrick has raced with "the media monster" since 2005, her breakout year, when she was named Indy 500 Rookie of the Year after becoming the first woman to lead at The Brickyard. She shattered several IRL records. In 2008, she made it to Victory Lane in Motegi, Japan, becoming the first female IndyCar driver to take the checkered flag. Racing aficionados coined a new phrase for the hyper-drive attention that followed: Danica mania.

Proving the Skeptics Wrong

That kind of attention has occasionally prompted other IndyCar drivers, team owners and beat writers to take shots at Patrick for her performance as a driver and for her drive to the spotlight. That never stops her from going out there and flattening the doubters.

"I'm one of those drivers who feeds off negativity a little bit, so I took all of the skeptics, all of the naysayers in the media and all of the people who didn't believe I could win, and used them as my inspiration to go out there and show them what I'm made of," Patrick says.

That goes for choosing the funny, edgy ad campaigns she's been involved with as well. In 2008, she wore a white bikini for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 2009, it was a white mustache for the "Got Milk" campaign. A TV spot for Boost Mobile has Patrick in the driver's seat as her pit crew runs around in high heels and miniskirts.

While achieving success at a high level is a difficult process, it's worth the chase, says Patrick, 5 feet 2 inches and 100 or so pounds, despite how deceptively tall she appeared on the hood of a Shelby Cobra in Sports Illustrated. With her animated banter and direct eye contact, long dark hair, wicked sunglasses and gripping handshake, she can draw a crowd for autographs so thick the handlers issue wristbands.

"Success doesn't just happen. You have to go out there and make it happen. If you sit around waiting for success, it'll never come. In the end, all you'll be is someone just sitting around waiting," she says.

Bring It On

As a competitor, Patrick has that chip on her shoulder that all champion drivers need to make it, says racing legend Bobby Rahal, team co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing, which gave Danica her big break. "She's not fearful or unwilling to face any challenge," he says in Crossing the Line. "She not only wants the challenge, she looks for it. That's what champions do. They go through life with a bring-it-on attitude."

There may be a chip, but after all, she's competing in high speed poker. If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough, racing icon Mario Andretti has said.

Has she made it to Victory Lane?  Check.

Is she in the Indy Racing League  Check.
championship hunt?

On a Sports Illustrated cover?    Check.

In a Super Bowl ad?               Check.

Consider this unnerving challenge: At any given moment in an IndyCar race, the total area of all four tires in contact with the track is about the size of a sheet of notebook paper. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Pushing the Limits: Danica Patrick's Drive to the Top
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.