Congratulations to Danica Patrick, who has become the first woman in history to win an IndyCar race. What an achievement. She won the Indy Japan 300 event this weekend, beating two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves by six seconds.
It's been a tough haul for Danica. A rookie sensation entering IndyCars at age 23, she has competed in 50 races, became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 three years ago and is a driver whose strong characteristic is consistency. She's had some bad luck in previous races, but things have begun to turn around: in 2007 she had 11 top ten finishes and came in second at Belle Isle in September. She finished third in two other races.
With her win, Danica has surpassed the achievement of another pioneering racer, Janet Guthrie, who became the first woman to compete in the Indy 500 in the 1970s.
Not so long ago, people in racing circles doubted women had the strength and endurance to compete in the top tier of racing. Danica is small, only 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighs about 100 pounds, but she has tenacity and willpower. Her win will breathe new life in Indy racing and will inspire many women to come.
Patrick is about to become a media phenomenon and a household name... and good for her.
Danica's website is here.
Photo courtesy of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, under creative commons attribution as posted on Wikipedia.