With the 2020 NASCAR season in full swing, fans are eagerly anticipating every upcoming race. The first four Cup Series races have surprised and delighted viewers, especially those that cheer for two-time winner Joey Logano. They can't wait to see what happens over the remainder of the season.
Some fans, however, are thinking back to previous seasons and the drivers that competed. Danica Patrick, who made a name while racing for Stewart-Haas, has been routinely mentioned. She was a fierce competitor on the track, and the fans enjoyed watching her on a weekly basis, whether it was in the Cup Series or the Nationwide Series.
Patrick made a name for herself in the IndyCar Series, but she switched to stock car racing in 2010. She was part of NASCAR until 2018, taking part in a multitude of races.
With so many competitions on her resume, as well as some intriguing confrontations with fellow drivers, what should be remembered from Patrick's career? Here's a list of some memorable moments.
Vegas 2011: What a finish! Back when Mark Martin was the all time @NASCAR_Xfinity leader.February 22, 2020
Patrick spent her career in NASCAR racing in both the Cup Series and the "minor league" Xfinity Series. Although it was known as the Nationwide Series during Patrick's career. She found success in the minor league, including a career-best finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Back in 2011, Patrick took part in the Sam's Town 300. She competed with prominent drivers such as Brad Keselowski and Mark Martin and finished in fourth place overall. This was the best finish of her Nationwide Series career.
Patrick was praised throughout her career for not backing down during races. Several of her fellow drivers said that this was partially due to her having to fight her way to the Cup Series and prove herself.
One example of this competitiveness happened in 2015. She was racing in Kentucky when her car was struck from behind by Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had no brakes. This collision resulted in Patrick spinning out and saying: "f–ing 88. Did he f–ing hit me? Go f– yourself!"
Years later, Danica Patrick took things to another level, by becoming the first woman to lead the Indy 500. She went on to become the first woman to win an IndyCar race, and the first to take pole position for the Daytona 500 before retiring from racing last year. pic.twitter.com/oZpTiaicV6— Motorsport Images (@MSI_Images) March 8, 2019
Patrick was known for making history during her IndyCar career after she became the first woman to win an IndyCar race. She also made history in NASCAR during her rookie season.
The longtime driver started her Cup Series tenure by posting the best qualifying lap and securing the pole position in the Daytona 500. She led the pack of drivers at the beginning of the Great American Race and made history by becoming the first woman to take pole position at Daytona International Speedway.
Tonight to kickoff the run to the #DAYTONA500November 20, 2018
There is an inherent danger to NASCAR in that drivers can crash and end up in the hospital. Patrick was involved in a frightening incident during a race at Talladega Superspeedway in 2016. Her car slammed into a wall and caught on fire, but she avoided serious injuries.
The incident occurred when Michael McDowell tagged Patrick's car from behind. This knocked her out of control, and her vehicle slammed into the side of Matt Kenseth's. Patrick's car went nose-first into the wall and caught on fire while Kenseth's flipped upside down. Both drivers were transported to the hospital but escaped injury.
Patrick and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers are together and are making fans happy with their relationship. However, the former NASCAR driver had a different man in her life for a portion of her racing career.
Patrick and fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dated for five years, ultimately calling off the relationship in December 2018. This was a unique relationship considering that they often faced off with each other on the track.
Danica Patrick "has been a great pioneer for the sport." Drivers discuss her impact on NASCAR. pic.twitter.com/OLdIjO9Sk2— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) September 29, 2017
Patrick may not have finished her career with any Cup Series wins, but her impact on NASCAR was immense. Just ask the other drivers, such as Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski or Ryan Blaney.
USA Today Sports released a video in 2017 that featured several Cup Series drivers talking about what Patrick means to NASCAR. As they explained, her ability to bring new viewers was one aspect of her career that they appreciated. The drivers also loved that she was a fierce competitor who didn't back down.
Danica Patrick was fighting back tears as she announced this is her last full-time season in NASCAR. pic.twitter.com/0vaBzNV0SB— Michelle R. Martinelli (@MMartinelli4) November 17, 2017
Midway through the 2017 NASCAR season, Patrick announced that she would be retiring from full-time driving. She and her team, Stewart-Haas Racing, were parting ways after she had spent her entire career with them.
Patrick initially did not rule out making a return to full-time driving, but the situation changed in November. She held a press conference and made her decision to walk away official.
(Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)