She's already published her autobiography, "Danica -- Crossing the Line," two years ago, and this year became the first woman to win an IndyCar race, bringing home first place in the Indy Japan 300.
At 26, professional race car driver Danica Patrick is now playing with the big boys, finishing 5,894 seconds ahead of former "Dancing With The Stars" winner and fellow race car driver, Helio Castroneves, and joining the gender-crossing ranks of drag racer Shirley Muldowney.
Growing up in the Midwest, Patrick was a high school cheerleader before first tasting racing success when she began local Go-Karting in 1992 at Sugar River Raceway in Wisconsin, later moving on to win national Go-Kart titles.
When she turned 16, Patrick moved to England to further her racing ambitions, placing in various races all across Europe. Back in the states, the petite racer won her first pole position in 2005 in the Indy 500, and in 2007, she signed a lucrative deal to drive for Andretti Green Racing, with her car sponsored by Motorola, XM radio and Go Daddy.
With inevitable race car crashes over the years, Patrick underwent physical therapy and later married her physical therapist, Paul Hospenthal. Now, she says, her life is complete.
Bankrate: When was the first time you thought you'd be able to make a living as a race car driver?
Danica Patrick: The first thought of becoming a race car driver that was a little more secure than for fun was when I was 16 and moved to England. I thought, OK, I really got to make this work. Obviously, when I got hired by Bobby Rahal, who owns an IndyCar team, I thought, you know what? I can definitely make a career of this.
Bankrate: What was your first paying job you ever had besides racing?
Danica Patrick: I worked at The Limited Too clothing store when I was around 18. I worked there for just one winter.