Entries in Danica Patrick (2)


Danica Patrick Points to Hard Work(outs) in Daytona 500

Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the 65-year history of NASCAR, there has never been a female winner.  But Danica Patrick could change all that; she won pole position for the Daytona 500 this weekend.

“I’m not far enough removed from it to be able to understand what it really means,” she said Sunday. “All I can say is, just like anyone else in this moment, I’m happy. I’m proud.”

Patrick beat out 37 other drivers, including four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, and hit speeds of 196 miles per hour — Daytona’s fastest speed since 1990. She happens to be 8 inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than any of her male counterparts.

In addition to her team and state-of-the-art car, she said grueling workouts helped her in Sunday’s tryouts.  Patrick has said in previous interviews that racing is like a three-hour workout.

Patrick has said she focuses on her upper-body strength, building neck muscles like an NFL linebacker to stay upright during hard turns.

Mike Massaro, an ESPN reporter, said he had no doubt that Patrick was in top physical shape.

“She is constantly working out, watching her diet,” Massaro said. “In fact, yesterday, after she turned in her qualifying lap and had a two-hour wait to see how it all played out, she spent her time by going to the gym. That’s how dedicated she is to her fitness routine.”

Patrick has said keeping a grip on the steering wheel during a race is like holding a medicine ball for two hours, and hitting the break pedal during the turns is like pushing down with 300 pounds of force.

She does all of this in sauna-like 150-degree temperatures inside the car, wearing a fireproof bodysuit.

Drivers can sweat off 7 pounds during a single race.

“She has said time and time again that she has not set out to be the fastest girl,” Massaro said. “She has set out to be the fastest driver and she proved that.”
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Danica Patrick Becomes First Woman to Take Pole at Daytona 500

Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Danica Patrick pulled off the biggest coup of her four-year NASCAR career, becoming the first woman to ever take the pole at the Daytona 500 and the first to clinch a pole in any race in NASCAR’s premier series, the Sprint Cup.

Clocking 196 miles per hour, she beat out 37 other drivers, including four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

“I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl,” Patrick said. “That’s how I’ve always approached my racing career. I’ve been lucky enough to make history and be the first woman to do many things. We have a lot more history to make and we are excited to do it.”

Gordon was the only other driver who topped 196 mph. He locked up the No. 2 spot in the Daytona 500, which kicks off the Sprint Cup season next week.

“It’s great to be part of history,” Gordon said. “I can say I was the fastest guy today. I think we all know how popular she is, what this will do for our sport. Congratulations to her. Proud to be on there with her.”

Patrick is not new to making racing history. She was the first woman to lead laps in the Indianapolis 500, and her third-place finish in 2009 at the Brickyard was the best showing ever by a woman. She is also the only woman to have ever won an IndyCar race.

Since her move to NASCAR, though, she had not fared as well, but her performance Saturday could be an indication of better things to come.

“That’s a huge accomplishment,” team owner and fellow driver Tony Stewart said. “It’s not like it’s been 15 or 20 years she’s been trying to do this. It’s her second trip to Daytona here in a Cup car. She’s made history in the sport. That’s stuff that we’re proud of being a part of with her. It’s something she should have a huge amount of pride in.”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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