Danica Patrick was placed fourth in the 2005 running of the Indianapolis 500, making her the top-finishing woman ever at the famous auto race. It was Patrick's first Indy 500 appearance and she was named the race's rookie of the year. Danica Patrick began driving karts at age of 10. She captured the Grand National karting championship at the age of 12 and also added multiple titles at the ages of 14 and 15. In those six years of racing, Danica won three national point championships and ten regional crowns. She then jumped up to the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series in England in 1998, when she was just 16. She says, "If you want to be a lawyer, you go to Harvard. If you want to be the best race car driver, you move to England." And that she did.
Danica entered the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series in 1998. In 1999, she earned a career best ninth place finish in the championship. In 2000, Patrick advanced to the most competitive racing series in the world, the Zetek Formula Ford Championship in England. In that same year, she also raced in the European Formula Ford Series and was a test driver for the Mygale factory team as part of Haywood racing.
Later that season, Danica made a mark that is still being talked about in British motorsports. She finished a well deserved second place in the Formula Ford Festival, the toughest competition in British road racing. This mark matched the best ever finish for an American since Danny Sullivan finished second in 1974.
By 2002 she had signed a contract with Team Rahal. Her Indy 500 debut, combined with her youth, good looks, and the general paucity of women drivers in auto racing, made her a hit with fans and a sudden media favorite. Patrick is also the first woman ever to lead a lap at the Indy 500; she led for 19 laps of the 2005 race.
According to her official site, Danica Patrick is 5'2" tall and weighs 100 pounds. She was the second woman to win rookie of the year honors at Indianapolis; Lyn St. James won in 1992. The 2005 Indy 500 was won by Englishman Dan Wheldon. Danica Patrick was born in 1982, five years after Janet Guthrie became the first woman ever to drive in the Indy 500... Patrick drives for Rahal-Letterman Racing, the team co-owned by former driver Bobby Rahal and talk show host David letterman Women to drive in the Indy 500 before Patrick include Guthrie (1977-79), St. James (1992-97, 2000), and Sarah Fisher (2000-2004). Another female, Desire Wilson, passed the Indy 500 driver's test in 1982 but failed to qualify for the race.