During an IndyCar race, the driver's heart works 85 to 90% above its maximum capacity, generating an average of 150 to 200 beats per minute, sustaining, during turns, up to 5g; something like having 22.5kg over your head. While trying to keep his neck all in one piece, the driver also needs to calculate the distance and speed of other cars, know who is who and withstand a body temperature of up to 40ºC. For Danica Patrick there is no place on Earth she would rather be in more.
Her father, a snowmobile and motocross racer, met her mother, a mechanic, on a blind date. T. J. and Bev got married soon after, in the 70s and, 10 years later, Danica was already a go-kart racer in a small town in Wisconsin, under the supervision of her experienced parents. With a notable talent for racing, even as a little girl, Danica dropped out of school and cheerleading to focus on cars. Thus, while still a teenager, she flew to England to improve her street racing skills; her favourite. In Europe, she raced in Formula Ford, surprising dozens of male drivers with her constant threats at the podium.
However, her biggest success, up until that point, came at the Formula Atlantic competitions, with the RLR team, belonging to Bobby Rahal and TV host David Letterman. In it, she became a consistent podium finisher, even though she never actually won a race, and finished the 2004 championship in third place. Not bad!
What is not as clear is when a bright head finally noticed that Danica Patrick raced (in the words of The New York Post), not only cars, but also male pulses. It was only the tip of the controversy: in 2005, the driver had become the fourth woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500, in the IndyCar series, but what really stood out were her curves. The promotion of her image by automobile magazines, which wasn't small to begin with, was multiplied. After three years as a race driver, without ever winning a race, Danica Patrick had reached the top in sports media, making the covers of magazines such as Sport Illustrated, as well as advertising campaigns for Motorola and Honda.
Along the way, IndyCar also benefited from her popularity and audience ratings cheerfully went up. How could the critics remain quiet? For her beauty, Danica was seen as a marketing strategy. It's a ridiculous accusation, at best, when you have in mind the physical characteristics an IndyCar driver has to have, even though Danica Patrick's appearance and lack of inhibition benefit a lot of people. But you would also have to agree that inside, as well as outside, the race track, Danica doesn't usually show any gracefulness, shyness or lack of professionalism, nor in her sensuous poses does she do away with her look of explosive race car driver. It's the stereotype of the hot woman that moves around where only men should, with fierceness.
In her four years as an Indy race driver, Danica Patrick already has quite a list of fights and anger tantrums in the race track under her belt. For instance, in one of the races, after a collision with Ryan Briscoe, she got out of the car ready to do heaven-knows-what to him and was only stopped by a six foot five security guard. Her passionate temper ends up being a show of its own, because, as you know, if there is anything that pleases Indy fans it's punk atitudes, such as spitting on the other team's mechanic or driving your car into a wall.
And if the Go-Daddy Girl still didn't offer every possible attraction to race-car fans, that was over on April 20, 2008 when Danica, aged 26, won at Twin Ring Motegi in the Indy Japan 300, becoming the first woman to win an Indy race and also the first woman to win in an elite championship. More? For race car fans there's nothing to do except wait for the next triumphs of Wonder-Woman and as for drooling guys, they'll have to wait to know if Playboy can convince her to show just how good her curves are.
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