DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Danica Patrick's coming out party in Sprint Cup racing's biggest ball of all -- the 54th Daytona 500 -- was pretty much over before it ever really began.
It's easy to find Danica Patrick at Daytona International Speedway. Just look for the pack of photographers, the whirring of their cameras capturing the every move of NASCAR's newest star.
Editor's Note: Danica Patrick spoke with SI.com at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday prior to Dan Wheldon's tragic death on Sunday afternoon.
SONOMA, Calif. -- Just one day removed from making the biggest announcement of her career, Danica Patrick was back at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., last Friday to prepare for the IZOD IndyCar Series race over the weekend. The Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma would officially begin Danica's IndyCar farewell tour as the driver closes this phase of her racing career before joining NASCAR next season as a full-time driver in the Nationwide Series and a part-time driver on the Sprint Cup circuit.
STEAM CORNERS, Ohio -- The pursuit of Danica Patrick continues and most signs indicate she will switch from the IZOD IndyCar Series to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012, with perhaps seven races in Cup. And while that deal is far from being completed, many in IndyCar are already preparing for life without Danica next season. How would her departure affect the series? Would TV ratings plummet, would ticket sales suffer? Those in the industry have mixed thoughts on those issues as they await official word on whether she's staying or going.
Danica Patrick's departure from the Izod IndyCar Series after seven seasons will leave a vacuum in open-wheel racing.
Before this season, Danica Patrick had to decide if she wanted to again run the ARCA race at Daytona in February as a way to gain more experience in a stock car.
INDIANAPOLIS -- If the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world's largest theater of human emotion, then Danica Patrick and team owner Michael Andretti had all the drama they could take during Sunday's Bump Day for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- There is exactly one month to go until the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, which means Danica Patrick is counting down the moments until she gets yet another chance to try to become the first woman to win the historic race.
What's better than Danica Patrick in NASCAR? How about her first real feud with another driver?
Ten days before the commencement of the 2011 Izod IndyCar Series season at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, storylines are beginning to crystallize that could meander all the way to the much-anticipated season finale in Las Vegas. There's Danica Patrick, of course. There are those Ganassi drivers again. There's Tony George. Huh?
LEEDS, Ala. -- With NASCAR taking the past weekend off, it was a great time for the IndyCar Series to stage its annual Media Day before this week's preseason test at Barber Motorsports Park. And, while this small community located east of Birmingham is the home of Charles Barkley, it's also the home of one of the most picturesque road courses in the United States. With the first four IndyCar races of the season on temporary street and road courses, this is the perfect venue for the IndyCar teams to dust off the cobwebs of a five-month offseason and prepare for the 2011 season opener at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 27.
Danica Patrick made history Saturday. Again. We should be used to it by now, but her fourth place in the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas caught everybody off guard. It's the highest finish by a woman in a NASCAR national series race. Patrick did it in her 16th start, all in Nationwide.
During introductions for last Saturday's Nationwide race at Daytona, it was no surprise that Dale Earnhardt Jr., voted NASCAR's most popular driver for the last eight years, received thunderous applause.
MIAMI -- In a season that was so frustrating and disappointing for Danica Patrick, at least she was able to finish on a high note.
MOTEGI, Japan -- Danica Patrick is hoping that a little "Motegi Magic" will wipe away a season's worth of IndyCar frustration.
The Danica Patrick show came to New Hampshire this weekend, attempting a NASCAR breakthrough after going 35th, 31st, and 36th in her first three attempts. Racing's Most Popular female has taken plenty of lumps in her first turns behind the wheel of a stock car, making today's goal a simple one: stay out of trouble. Just keeping the car in one piece over 200 laps would have been a huge rookie accomplishment.
Danica Patrick vacationed in an undisclosed location in Europe last week. Here's hoping she got plenty of rest because her life is about to get as hectic as it's ever been.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Sometimes, the best races are the ones that don't end in Victory Lane. That was the case for Danica Patrick in Saturday night's IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway.
INDIANAPOLIS -- My, how things have changed. Heading into the 94th Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick is no longer IndyCar's fairy tale. Not after she was booed following her qualification attempt on Saturday's Pole Day.
When considering Danica Patrick's prospects for the Indianapolis 500, you can take everything she has done on the racetrack this season -- and most of it isn't good -- and throw it out. Indianapolis has been Patrick's best track since she stepped into an IndyCar and she'll be a contender to win in the 94th running on May 30.
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- There probably isn't another driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series looking forward to a return to the ovals more so than Danica Patrick.
LEEDS, Alabama -- Perhaps "Danica Mania" is turning into "Danica Fatigue" after Danica Patrick's return to the IZOD IndyCar Series this week left her so upset that she fled the garage area with an angry scowl late Thursday evening. The fact she had to board a private jet and fly to Las Vegas to be ready for Friday morning's NASCAR Nationwide Series practice session probably didn't help her mood.
FONTANA, Calif. -- If Auto Club Speedway is known as "Gillian's Island" because track president Gillian Zucker's speedway is so deserted, then Danica Patrick must have felt like a castaway after her second NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Because of a long, steady, torrential downpour on Friday, Danica Patrick had plenty of time to think about her first NASCAR Nationwide Series race, scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Heading into it, the 5-foot-1, 27-year-old Patrick realizes it doesn't matter whether she scores a top-five finish or brings up the rear of the 43-car field, the ultimate goal is learning how to drive against a higher-class of competition than she battled in last Saturday's ARCA race and figuring out if she wants to join NASCAR fulltime one day.
As SI's annual swimsuit issue continues to make headlines. SI.com looks at one of the most famous athletes to appear in the issue -- Danica Patrick.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Danica Patrick's Daytona debut is over, culminating with an impressive sixth-place finish in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA race. Here are five things we learned from the experience.
That million-dollar smile stretched across her face, bright, wide and wonderful, as she hopped out of her No. 7 Chevy on Thursday afternoon, midway through her first practice session in a stock car. Her makeup still on from a morning Q-and-A session with several hundred members of the media, Danica Patrick talked to her crew chief, Tony Eury Jr., for a few moments in the Daytona garage, then bounded toward an acquaintance who stood a few feet away.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- SpeedWeeks 2010 officially began at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, including practice for Saturday's Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. But this isn't your father's ARCA race, not with IndyCar regular Danica Patrick making her stock car debut here. With her in the field, it'll be the most anticipated, most watched ARCA Series race in history. Here then are five things we learned on her first day in Daytona.
Terry Angstadt sat at a table on a stage in a darkened Orlando conference hall last week, patiently waiting his turn to espouse the power and the glory of the Izod Indycar Series on huge video panels and through booming speakers. NASCAR's chief marketing officer Steve Phelps was concluding his presentation to the gathered attendees of the Motor Sport Business Forum North America -- the "800-pound gorilla in the room," as organizer Zak Brown dubbed NASCAR, always seems to go first -- and Angstadt had many new developments to share, many pieces of evidence that his open wheel series might finally be making some in-roads back toward a greater identity in American sporting relevance.
When deciding how to enter NASCAR next season, Danica Patrick was very diligent, thanks to the advice of Tony Stewart, who traveled the same path in the late 1990s.
The acquaintance began in a fitting fashion for titans: in an expensive car, on a winding road in Monte Carlo, after dinner with two international pop stars, hours after wrapping a music video shoot.
Danica Patrick The first woman to win an IndyCar race (the 2008 Indy Japan 300) is expected to announce today that she will drive for a NASCAR team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Born and raised in the Midwest, Patrick began racing go-karts at the age of 10, dropped out of high school to race professionally full time, and was once on the team co-owned by "Late Show" host David Letterman. Her third-place finish at the 2009 Indianapolis 500 was the highest finish by a woman in the event's history.
SI.com's Mark Beech takes a spin around the racing world for the most intriguing stories in and out of the garage.
What's the best way to push criticism out of today's sports news cycle?
The two most popular drivers in auto racing -- Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. -- may soon be involved in a limited NASCAR arrangement, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick confirmed to SI.com.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Danica Patrick signed a three-year contract to remain at Andretti Green Racing in the IndyCar Series, according to team and IndyCar sources.
MOTEGI, Japan -- Danica Patrick is back at the site of her first and only major racing victory, being treated like a rock star by fans in Japan and sitting sixth in the starting grid for the next to last race of the IndyCar season.
NEWTON, Iowa -- A perfect storm for the IndyCar Series could result in its most successful driver moving to a new team in 2010, and provide the opportunity to keep the sport's most recognizable driver in the series.
Danica Patrick has apologized for some controversial comments made to Sports Illustrated before the Indy 500, saying, "The whole interview with Dan [Patrick], and every other interview I've ever done with Dan, the questioning comes from left field. It was just a joke and I really apologize if it came across any other way. ... It was a bad joke. There is a lot of sensitivity in our culture about [performance-enhancing drugs]. With all the baseball stuff, I've followed it and this is a real problem. It's a shame kids think they have to do this to get ahead. It's very dangerous. ... It's absolutely not what I'm about. I've learned my lesson on what I should be joking about."
WEST ALLIS, Wisconsin -- A Hulman-George family feud may provide IndyCar star Danica Patrick with the nudge she needs to jump to NASCAR.
INDIANAPOLIS -- For the 33 drivers who will start Sunday's Indianapolis 500, there are plenty of keys and strategies that will get one of them into victory lane in the World's Biggest Race.
INDIANAPOLIS -- When it comes to popularity at the Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick is the big winner without even taking the checkered flag.
The racing champ - and bikini cover model - becomes the latest to sport the milk mustache
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- So, Danica Patrick thinks she can leave the IndyCar Series, switch to NASCAR and become an instant sensation, racking up millions in sponsorship and endorsement opportunities and race off into the sunset.
The IndyCar driver, who has a weakness for homemade pizza, trades her race suit for a racy bikini
Last week the New York Times devoted considerable space to speculation on Danica Patrick's future in the IRL. Her contract with Andretti Green is up after this season, and she seems to be seriously considering a switch to NASCAR. "One of the things I think of is the exposure level that you get in NASCAR with the ratings and viewership," she told the paper. "Their numbers are so much larger than ours, and with that comes a bigger following, comes more popularity, comes more demand for you to endorse other products. So I think it would be an exponential sort of growth."
NAPERVILLE, Illinois -- Danica Patrick enjoys being in the spotlight, and that's where the IndyCar starlet will be in this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
When Danica Patrick talks about Helio Castroneves, you can imagine her sitting on the floor of her Phoenix home amid hundreds of files, contracts and tax documents. It would be the middle of the night, Patrick with a flashlight in one hand, magnifying glass in the other, mumbling gibberish as she speed-reads the forms.
Danica Patrick smacked the second turn wall at Kentucky Speedway during Friday afternoon's practice session, which left the IndyCar star more disappointed than dazed.
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada -- In a season where Danica Patrick finally won an IndyCar race, trouble for the starlet continued in Saturday's Rexall Edmonton Indy when she was driven off the track by the team owner's son, Marco Andretti.
For 13 years they had waited for this moment, waited as open-wheel racing lost its luster and receded deeper into the background of America's sports landscape. For 13 years, following the breakup of the open-wheel circuit into competing series (CART and IRL), the top owners and drivers had watched the Indianapolis 500 become less and less relevant. For 13 years the race that was once America's most watched and celebrated had the feel of a party at which only half the guests (IRL drivers) showed up.
On the day Danica Patrick claimed her historic victory at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan last month, Kristin Bumbera was half a world away. Bumbera was running at Thunder Hill Raceway in Kyle, Texas, just south of Austin. She finished 11th in the Allstate Texas Thunder 150 Race, part of the Camping World West series. She was the only woman running. She's used to that.
The question comes at Danica Patrick, fast and furious, every time she steps out of her monstrous motorhome that's parked in the infield at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Can you win, Danica?
Watching Danica Patrick stride through the adoring throngs surrounding pit lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last Saturday afternoon -- five state troopers clearing the way, little girls crying out to her and grown men shouting wedding proposals -- it was easy to think that she's already reached the pinnacle. In the Age of Celebrity, Patrick (or simply Danica to everyone in the crowd) doesn't have to win to be a winner. She's a 5' 2", 100-pound bundle of marketing gold, just riding the wave of her own celebrity.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Danica Patrick received a double-dose of good news on Tuesday as she prepares for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on May 25.
INDIANAPOLIS -- IndyCar racing's biggest name was emotionally shaken Friday as Danica Patrick was involved in an incident on pit lane during Friday's practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when her car hit a crew member from another team in pit lane.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Danica Patrick's breakthrough victory in Sunday's Honda Indy 300 in Japan has finally silenced the skeptics who thought "Danica Mania" was more hype than substance; that it was based on her beauty rather than her bravery.
IndyCar's first female winner has no plans to TV tango like her rival Helio Castroneves
She is the first female IndyCar race winner after beating Helio Castroneves in Japan
In some ways, it was kind of appropriate that Danica Patrick's historic victory came when it was least expected, on the other side of the earth at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on a race that was televised on ESPN Classic.
Five lingering thoughts from Sunday's soggy Indy 500:
Danica Patrick is set to start her third Indianapolis 500 this Sunday in the third row. But she'll still be far ahead of the other drivers in the race in one important way: marketability.
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