Thank you Danica: Looking back at the historic career of NASCAR’s most successful female driver

Video Details

Danica Patrick sits down with Jamie Little to look back at her historic and groundbreaking career ahead of her final start in the Daytona 500.

ANNOUNCE 1: Wow. My goodness, Danica Patrick out front in the 500.

ANNOUNCER 2: 187 men have done it, never a woman until today.

ANNOUNCER 3: That was an unbelievable race by a rookie. Danica Patrick finishes in fourth place.

ANNOUNCER 4: And she pulls up on Helio Castroneves. Danica Patrick will win at Motagi.

- I am really excited today to finally announce I'll be driving the Number Seven GoDaddy Car.

ANNOUNCER 5: Finally, the day has come. Danica Patrick making her debut in stock cars.

ANNOUNCER 6: Danica is getting a little racy now. Car seven, finished seven.

ANNOUNCER 7: I don't think anybody can say that she can't drive a stock car.

- The GoDaddy car doesn't look very pretty, but it was fun. GoDaddy will be taking me full time into NASCAR next year.

ANNOUNCER 8: Danica Patrick has made NASCAR history, winning the pole for the Daytona 500, first woman to do so.

ANNOUNCER 9: I haven't heard cheering like this at this racetrack since Dale Jr. took the lead.

ANNOUNCER 10: Danica Patrick has led the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500.

ANNOUNCER 11: Hey, guys, Danica Patrick, she just keeps getting better.

ANNOUNCER 12: Two top tens of the last three races.

ANNOUNCER 13: It's great to see Danica Patrick out leading this race.

ANNOUNCER 14: Yeah, she's had a good car all weekend. Qualified well, practiced well.

ANNOUNCER 15: Danica Patrick now leading at Watkins Glen.

ANNOUNCER 16: NASCAR's most successful female driver ever. And her final NASCAR race will be Sunday's Daytona 500.

HOST: That poll here in Daytona five years ago still marks one of the highlights of her NASCAR career. Over 190 starts in NASCAR's premier series, seven top tens, and 64 laps lead are no easy feat in motor sports' most competitive series. Before she makes her final start, she and her family sat down with Jamie Little to reflect on a remarkable career.

DANICA PATRICK: I hope that people remember me as a great driver. That I was determined and feisty. A good person.

I try and be kind. I try and be fair. So I hope people remember that. I hope they don't forget that I'm a woman. I'm not trying to dismiss that. I just kind of hope that the first thing that they think about is like, man she was really good. And she was a girl. It was awesome.

- A lot of what I think you see on TV is really her.

- It seems like it's been really fast. I mean it started when she was 10 years old. And now she's 35.

- What was it like when Danica, what was she 15, 16 years old? Packed her bags, and you guys had to say, goodbye, you're going into this racing world of the unknown.

- We're at the airport, and I almost get those feelings all over again. She's bye. And she's all happy and pulling her suitcase and going down the aisle. Brooke and TJ and I are standing there bawling.

- If she wanted to be a racer, that's what she had to do.

- You just were set out to be a race car driver, you were one of the guys. But then you started embracing her femininity, and you were OK with being open about it. Do you feel like there was that transition?

- Yeah. I mean I'm trying to avoid the saying sex sells. But I think you have to use all of your attributes. I think you have to use if you're funny, play it up. You know if you're daredevil, show it off. But it all has to be backed up by ability.

ANNOUNCER 17: Is she good? Hell, yes, she's good.

- Such happiness right now. I see you smile more. A lot of that--

- People think I'm positive now. I'm like, what happened to me? I used to be just like cranky, especially at the racetrack. Part of why I felt like I needed to leave racing. So I want to be in this happy, positive mindset. And with racing, I mean you spend most of your time frustrated. You know unless you win, basically, you're like what could I have done better?

And in fact, sometimes the second through fifth place finishes are the most angering. Because you were so close. So there's just so much time spent frustrated. I'm like I can't-- I'm sick of feeling like this.

- It's unbelievable that that was the goal. And she achieved the goal. The vision was that we were going to do Indy. And then it was like, OK, well let's do NASCAR. And she's done all of it.

- She's a big thinker. And she has, obviously, her book, the food that she loves to cook, fitness, wine, clothing. I don't even know if that's the end yet. There's going to something else real big she'll accomplish.

- How would you sum up your time here in NASCAR?

- I mean it's been fun. It's been challenging. It's been a lot of work. I mean from the first time I drove a stock car, I was like, I'm home. Like I love this. I'll miss some people. I'll miss the competition. When I go away from the race track, I don't go find a race track. So you know there's also other things I like doing.