Danica Patrick to Host 2018 ESPY Awards

Danica Patrick will host the 2018 ESPY Awards, ESPN announced on Tuesday. She will be the first woman to host the awards.

Patrick, who is retiring from racing after Sunday's Indianapolis 500, will be on stage for the 26th edition of the awards show on July 18 at the Microsoft Theather in Los Angeles.

"My first ESPYS was 2005, and I have been a fan, coming back every year since," Patrick said in a statement. "It is the biggest night of the year for sports. Every year, I leave feeling so inspired! I am excited to be able to help celebrate, laugh and cry about the past year in sports with everyone. It's going to be a great night and one full of more than a few surprises."

The 36-year-old Patrick also shared the news on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Tuesday.

"I have a thing for doing things for the first time as a woman, so I'm going to be the first woman to host the ESPYs," Patrick told Fallon.

Patrick is a three-time ESPY nominee. She was nominated for Best Breakthrough Athlete in 2005, the year she was named Rookie of the Year for the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series. In 2008, she was nominated for Best Moment and Best Female Athlete after she became the only woman to win an IndyCar series event by coming in first at the Indy Japan 300.

The ESPYs are also special for Patrick since she met boyfriend, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, at the 2012 awards for the first time.

"We met at the ESPYS back in 2012. We remember meeting each other, it was quick," Patrick said on SiriusXM Radio Tuesday. "I got his email address. ... It wasn't until, obviously, recently that we actually had phone numbers. We referred to each other as Chicago and Green Bay. It was very cute."

After paparazzi photos of the two sports stars on dates surfaced, Patrick confirmed their relationship in a January Associated Press interview.

"I told him a long time ago I'd always root for him as a player," Patrick said at the time. "Now I am probably going to cheer for the whole team... Take out the word 'probably.' Now I'm going to cheer for the whole team."

Last year's ESPY Awards was hosted by retired quarterback Peyton Manning. In 2016, WWE star John Cena hosted.


On Friday, Patrick said she has enough interests outside racing to keep her busy after retirement. She has her Somnium winery, Warrior clothing line and wrote the health/wellness book Pretty Intense.

"None of my other businesses are linked with racing, necessarily, other than it being me and that's what I did, and that's what has given me everything I have, from awareness to the houses I own and the life I get to live," Patrick said, reports ESPN. "I don't know what will happen in the future. I'm sure I'll be back at racetracks. How often? I really don't know. At this point in time, there is not a plan for that, but I didn't really plan for this [retirement] not that long ago, either."