You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to keep up with this iconic racing legend. It was 5 a.m. to be exact on the day I had the privilege to speak with Danica Patrick directly about the upcoming Indy 500 race and her newfound passion for entrepreneurship.
Given her talent and sheer power, it feels like a slight to mention that she’s the only woman to have led laps at both the Daytona 500 & Indy 500 because only 13 other racecar drivers have achieved this feat in the history of the sport (all men). And she’s the only woman to have ever won an IndyCar race, one of the very few women competing in a sport dominated by men.
Despite being in a male-dominated field, Patrick is quick to say that she embraces her feminine side. “I want to be remembered as a great driver. I hope that they can remember how I was girl and how I use being a woman to my advantage. I don’t dismiss that part of me at all,” she says.
And dismiss she should not! Patrick is a powerhouse. In November 2017, she announced that she would end her racing career with the “Danica Double” by competing in two marquee events that were cornerstones of her career: the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500, again racing under the logo of her long-time sponsor GoDaddy, an online provider whose primary mission is to help businesses and ideas succeed.
“I want to be known for my character, that I am an interesting and very driven person. Just because racing is over doesn’t mean that I’m done inspiring. Whether it’s my wine, or my book or my clothing line, or even speaking to groups, I always thought it was cool for someone that is well known for one thing to transition into something else,” says Patrick.
The synergy is even better this time with GoDaddy, as both driver and sponsor have a passion for entrepreneurship and they will work together post-racing, too. In 2017, she launched her own clothing line under the fitting name “Warrior by Danica Patrick”, and she also authored a book on mind, body, and eating right, titled “Pretty Intense”.
Patrick also invested in a vineyard of her own in California that produces Somnium Wine, which translates to “dream” in Latin.
It may seem like a lot of projects, but entrepreneurship is in Patrick’s genes. Growing up, her parents had a number of businesses ranging from an oil exchange to a coffee shop, among other ventures.
In her latest book, Pretty Intense, Danica credits her positive mindset to creating daily habits, which she works very hard at to inspire herself to be better every day. In the book, she shares her three rules of happiness:
Rule #1: Flow in the right direction.
“Positive thinking is a habit. Practice it, and it will start to become natural. Be light. Be positive. Keep your mind flowing in the right direction.”
Rule #2: Start by assuming the best.
“Start with what you can control.”
Rule #3: Do the next healthy thing.
“You don’t have to completely change your outlook on life in an instant. Just do the next healthy thing. Then, when you are faced with the next decision after that, do the same thing.”
Excerpt from Pretty Intense by Danica Patrick with Stephen Perrine. Published by Avery an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, New York copyright 2017.
“I’m an organic entrepreneur, in that nothing I’ve done has been planned. I’m involved in these projects that have come about organically because they are interests of mine.”
So what does life after racing look like for Patrick? She says she’s open to exploring opportunities, along with a bit of TLC. “I’d love to have a cooking show and other books. But let’s face it; I’m ready to relax. I want to reduce the high-pressure moments and increase the creative, artistic part of me.”
One thing is for sure, her career has primed her for business success. And a positive mindset is something she attributes to that. “One of the things sports teaches you is to have confidence and believe in yourself. The mind is a powerful thing: You’ve got to believe in your idea and in yourself, and you have to get people around you to believe the same thing.”
While driving, she constantly recites affirmations: “I can do this. I am smart. I am strong. I’m good at this. I’m determined.”
And that she is.
Danica Patrick is the only woman to have led laps at both the Daytona 500 & Indy 500—a feat achieved by only 13 other drivers in the history of auto racing.
She’s the only woman to have ever won an IndyCar race.
She’s the only woman to win the Pole at NASCAR’s Daytona 500.
She was named one of TIME magazine’s Most Influential People in 2009.
Danica has appeared in 14 Super Bowl commercials, more than any celebrity in broadcast history, 13 with GoDaddy.
She has appeared on the covers of ESPN: The Magazine, Sports Illustrated and TV Guide, including two appearances in 2008 and 2009’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
She will retire from racing after driving in her last race at the Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2018 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Photos courtesy of GoDaddy