Besides talent and laser-beam desire, you need something that racing great Bobby Rahal sees in champions: a chip on the shoulder that says: “You don’t think I can do it? Come out and take a shot at me.”
Danica Patrick has that.
Although relatively new to racing heading into this year’s Indianapolis 500, Patrick showed the mettle to race with the boys.
She’d been among the fastest drivers all month in practices leading up to Indy. She qualified fourth, with an average speed of 227 mph. In practice, she posted the fastest lap, at 229.88 mph, and in the last practice, she again drove the fastest car in the Brickyard.
So it came as no surprise to the other drivers when Patrick dodged a few bullets and came charging back to lead for 19 laps and eventually place fourth in the Memorial Day race. And it certainly came as no surprise to Patrick.
“I’m going to go out there and prove to you time and again that I belong here,” she says, “that I will race up front, and that I’m a great driver and not just driving for a great team.”
— Adapted from “Here She Comes,” E.M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, and “10 Questions for Danica Patrick,” Sean Gregory, Time.