Maria Shriver

Defining Moment: Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick’s racing career began behind the wheel of a go-kart in Roscoe, Illinois. Now, she's the most successful woman in IndyCar and NASCAR, and her groundbreaking achievements include being the first woman to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole position. Here, Patrick shares one of her defining moments.

"Are you throwing away success if you try something new you might not even like? That was the question I asked myself when I was looking at doing some part-time NASCAR racing. I didn’t know if I’d like it, and I’d just come off a season in INDYCAR finishing fifth in the championship and having lots of top five finishes. So there was some thought that maybe I shouldn’t just leave all that behind for something totally different.

But I went ahead and took that baby step. I went to Daytona (International Speedway) in 2010 and raced a stock car for the first time. It was literally the most amount of fun I’d ever had in a race car. It proved to be so good and true right off the bat. I still smile when I talk about it because it was just awesome. Bumping wheels – oh my god, it was so much fun. It proved to me that I wanted to race stock cars full time, because it just came so quick and easy. That’s a great memory and it defined what my future would hold. It’s very difficult to choose one defining moment, but learning to not let success discourage you from trying new things, that’s definitely one of mine."