Danica Patrick Rolls To Indy On “Time”
By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick continues to reap the benefits of her first victory, and her “sexy and sculpted” mainstream appeal, by checking in at No. 93 on the list of the “TIME 100: The World’s Most Influential People.”
There were 208 nominees from various categories in the online poll. Patrick, whose nominee profile listed her occupation as “Racy Driver,” received more votes than TV talk show icon Oprah Winfrey, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, cable news host Bill O’Reilly, New York Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and CBS News anchor Katie Couric, among others.
“I’m humbled and honored to be on the list with so many other amazing people,” Patrick said. “I’m grateful to have wonderful people around me that keep me grounded and in the moment. I know I don’t say it often enough, but thank you for helping me achieve my goals and dreams while allowing me to be myself in the fast-paced lifestyle I lead.”
Patrick, 27, made motorsports history with her breakthrough victory in April 2008 at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, where she became the first female driver to win a major closed-course auto racing event. In her second season with Andretti Green Racing, Patrick finished a career-best sixth in points.
Off the track, Patrick remains one of the most recognizable woman athletes in the United States. In addition to gracing the cover of a variety of magazines, notably “Sports Illustrated,” Patrick also appeared in the magazine’s popular Swimsuit Edition. That issue generates more than 69 million readers and over 250 million on-line visitors.
Also during 2008, Patrick topped golfer Tiger Woods, quarterback Tom Brady and Super Bowl XLII hero Eli Manning as the most searched athlete of the year, according to AOL’s annual list of the top Web, mobile and video searches.
The top vote-getter and new owner of the title “World’s Most Influential Person” is moot – the 21-year-old college student and founder of the online community 4chan.org. Moot, whose real name is Christopher Poole, received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of 100). He beat an impressive list including President Barack Obama, Vladmir Putin and Winfrey.
As a point of reference, everyone moot beat out has a real job. Further, while Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao drew a larger vote total (20,391,818), runnerup for the title of “World’s Most Influential Person” – Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim – received a mere 47 on the influence scale. Moot’s selection follows that of recent title-holders – Nintendo video-game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (2007) and Korean pop star Rain (2006).
Patrick is scheduled to begin practice for the 93rd edition of the Indianapolis 500 on Wednesday.