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Danica Patrick gears up for race

Third woman to start Daytona 500

Danica Patrick is making a name for herself as a female race car driver – a rarity in the racing world. The driver is preparing for her first NASCAR Sprint Cup race next weekend in the Daytona 500.

In 2005, Danica Patrick began attracting attention when she was named Rookie of the Year for both the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series. Patrick raced in the Indy Racing League for seven years, while also competing in ARCA and NASCAR’s Nationwide Series in 2010 and 2011 in preparation for this year’s transition to Sprint Cup.

On Sunday, Danica Patrick will become the third woman to start the Daytona 500, following Janet Guthrie (1977, 1980) and Shawna Robinson (2002). “If everything goes right, the stars are aligned, I do my homework and get a comfortable car, and get comfortable with the other drivers on the track, and start earning their respect, and having great racing out there, there’s really an opportunity,” Patrick told Reuters on Tuesday.

At 5′ 2″ and 105 pounds, Patrick has a lot of guts to get out on the track, but she admitted to having fears just like everyone else. “I’m not scared of going 200 miles an hour, but I’m scared of heights,” she said. “I’m scared of water where I can’t see the bottom. I’m scared of bugs. I’m scared of the dark. I’m scared of ghosts. I’m scared of simple stuff. Oddly enough when I drive over a bridge, it’s a little bit scary … You’d think I’d be relaxed as a racecar driver doing that.”

Despite having posed for GoDaddy, “FHM” and “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit edition, Danica Patrick feels uncomfortable being described as a sex symbol. The driver feels that she should be able to maintain a balance between her job and her femininity. “When I go to the race track I’m all business – I don’t have much make up on, I comb my hair, and what you see is what you get,” she told FOX News. “With commercials I’m able to tap into my more feminine side and get my make up done – which I love to do. I love being girly, and having both sides keeps me balanced as a person, and keeps me fun.”

Regardless of how the driver sees herself, she is undoubtedly sexy in public opinion. Patrick has been named in several “sexiest” lists, including one compiled by Victoria’s Secret.

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