Danica Patrick was back behind the wheel at the Indy 500 in a moment that sparked plenty of reactions from viewers online. After retiring from the world of motorsports in 2018 after 27 years on the track, Patrick returned to the track on Sunday to drive the pace car for the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500.
Patrick's involvement in the annual race was first confirmed earlier in May, when it was announced Patrick would drive a 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray hardtop convertible to lead the field of 33 across the Yard of Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30. At the time, Patrick said she was "very honored to drive the pace car," and added that it was "even more special because of the past year we have all endured, and it will be so nice to see fans back in the stands. I have always loved Chevy vehicles, and the Corvette convertible is such a beautiful car. Maybe they will let me drive it home!"
"We're happy to welcome back Danica to the place where she made motorsports history as the first female driver to lead 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'" IMS President Doug Boles said, the IndyStar reported. "She will provide a unique perspective for NBC viewers while behind the wheel of the powerful Corvette Stingray convertible."
The former racer notably became the first woman to lead laps in the Indy 500 back in 2005, and in 2009, she finished in third place, which was the highest finish for a woman in the history of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After having her final start in the Indianapolis 500 in 2018, which marked the final race of her career, IndyCar Series fans were more than just a little excited to see her driving the pace car, and many were quick to take to social media to react. During the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, Patrick also served as a studio analyst for NBC's live race broadcast with host Mike Tirico and fellow analyst/driver Jimmie Johnson. Keep scrolling to see what Indy 500 viewers had to say.
In the photo, Patrick is driving the white Chevrolet in the photo. It's the first time she has driven on the track since 2018 which is also her final race. Patrick said she was a little nervous about driving the pace car during the NBC broadcast.prevnext
DANICA PATRICK PACE CAR DRIVER LETS GO— ً (@SlRLEWlS) May 30, 2021
This fan is all about Danica Patrick driving the pace car. It only makes sense for Patrick to lead the 2021 Indy500 since she led the race at one point in 2005. Patrick finished in fourth place in the 2005 Indy 500.prevnext
One fan was a little worried about Patrick. The person wrote: "Danica Patrick driving the pace car? Gonna see Detroit all over again."prevnext
Another fan had a message for Patrick. The person wrote: "Someone might have to remind Danica not to take that Pacecar into turn 1 at the green flag."prevnext
Just saw that Danica Patrick is driving the pace car for the #Indy500. It’s been 50 years since the last pace car crash. Fingers crossed that she can keep it off the safer barriers today... https://t.co/0V2zoptDSy— Hedley Lamarr (@RickDinehart) May 30, 2021
"I really appreciate having you on this Indy 500 coverage," another fan wrote. "You bring great knowledge, experience and perspective to the day. I love you as a racer. You are bad-ass! Will you ever race the 500 again?"prevnext
Before Patrick drove the pace car, she was doing coverage for the Indy 500 for NBC Sports. And it seems like most fans enjoy her working with Mike Tirico, but there are some who want to see her back competing on the track.prev