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Danica Patrick prepares for final race of her career at Indianapolis 500

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For all of the haters, there’s little question that Danica Patrick has been the best female driver in racing history.

She hasn’t recorded any wins on the NASCAR or Indy circuits, though she is still the only woman to ever lead laps in both the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, according to Fox News.

So it’s only fitting that this weekend, Patrick will run her final race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Although Patrick has spent the past several seasons with NASCAR, there was little doubt how she wanted to write her final chapter.

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“Coming back and having this be my final race, it wouldn’t have been possible if I would have finished up in a normal way. Normally, usually when you choose your retirement, you finish up at the end of a season. I would have finished up in NASCAR. It kind of felt like it wasn’t really finished properly, that’s what led me to think, ‘What else can I do to finish it up?'” Patrick said.

“That brought me back here,” she added. “It wouldn’t be so dramatic if I wasn’t gone for seven years. I can see Indy on the way out the way I saw it on the way in.”

Patrick supporters talk as much about her work off the track as they do on it.

Just this week, she was announced as the first female host of the ESPY Awards.

Are you sad to see Danica Patrick retire?

“The businesswoman that she is, I admire,” observed Penske driver Simon Pagenaud. “That’s a quality not everybody has. She’s transformed her career into a business and we wish we could do the same, quite frankly.”

After all, how many race car drivers inspired a LEGO model?

Experts say that Patrick has a fast car for the 500, and she averaged just over 228 mph during qualifying, good for the seventh spot Sunday.

After the race, the big question will be, what’s next?

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Well, there are the ESPYs, and of course, her new boyfriend, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

But here’s the woman herself on life as a retiree:

“In the summer, there’s like farmers’ markets. I can’t wait for that,” she said. “The one thing that I am definitely looking forward to less of is less stress. I’m OK with less of that. I’m OK with transitioning into other things, finding a little bit of happiness and joy each day, less polarization of emotions. I’m ready for that.”

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Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Birthplace
Sudbury, Massachusetts
Honors/Awards
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Education
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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