Danica Patrick Playboy Interview
PLAYBOY: In 2005 you became the fourth woman to race in the Indianapolis 500. You led for 19 laps and ultimately finished fourth – both records for a female driver. How conscious are you of reaching these milestones?
PATRICK: I never thought I needed to be the first girl to do this or that. Usually the only thing I think about is winning a race. That’s a big deal. In the end, if you are the best, you’re going to break a lot of female records. So I didn’t ever really think about that. It was a little bitty piece of history, and it changed my life. Now I’m ready to blow that record out of the water with a win.
PLAYBOY: Former Indy driver Robby Gordon accused you of having an advantage because you weigh only 100 pounds, and he said he wouldn’t race against you. Does that type of criticism frustrate or fuel you?
PATRICK: I didn’t realty have to say anything. I just laughed and let other peo-ple answer the question. Most people said he should start eating salads.
PLAYBOY: Rumors spread in the off-season that you were moving to NASCAR, and you even test-drove a Busch Series car. What would it take to get you to move to NASCAR?
PATRICK: It would take a seat on a team that wins races—that’s most important. I don’t want to start at the bottom when I’m at the top where I am now.
PLAYBOY: When asked about female drivers in NASCAR, Richard Petty said, “I just don’t think it’s a sport for women. It’s good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity; it gives them publicity. But as far as being a real, true racer, making a living out of it, it’s kind of tough.” Do you think NASCAR is less prepared for a female driver than Indy?
PATRICK: No. Since Juan Pablo Montoya started and since NASCAR is interested in recruiting minority groups, it would be more open than ever. It’s trying to expand its fan base. It saw the kinds of things that happened with my being involved with Indy, so I’m sure NASCAR would like to see that happen to its series.
PLAYBOY: Is it hard to be both sexy and a racer?
Danica Patrick: When I was younger I felt uncomfortable because I didn’t want people to look at me and think, She’s just some girl, and write me off before they gave me a chance. There’s nothing I can’t do in a race car because I’m a girl. These days I love being a girl.
Read the 21st question at payboy.com/21Q.