Danica Patrick Wins Popularity Contest
Danica Patrick was voted NASCAR's Nationwide Series most popular driver after finishing 10th in points during her inaugural full-time season on the circuit. The announcement was made on Monday during the series' post-season awards ceremony.
After fans cast nearly 120,000 combined votes on NASCAR.com, each series Most Popular Driver was revealed. Patrick secured 10th place in the standings, the best championship showing for a female driver in one of NASCAR's top three touring series.
It took 63 years for someone to better the late Sara Christian's mark of 13th place in the 1949 Strictly Stock Series points standings. Next season, she will become the first woman to compete full-time in the Sprint Cup Series with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Patrick made international headlines by leading and nearly winning the 2005 Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. In 2008, she became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race at Motegi, Japan.
But the 30-year-old always has insisted her motivation in competing is to win races. Any trailblazing she does for her gender is a bonus, not necessarily the intent.