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The new face of Indy racing.

When Danica Patrick was 13, she raced go-carts and dreamed of being a race-car driver. Now 23, she's made history, finishing fourth at the Indianapolis 500 in May and becoming the first woman to hold a lead in the race. Patrick, who grew up in Roscoe, Ill., and now lives in Phoenix, spoke to Upfront and other media during a teleconference after the race.

What have you found most surprising about your newfound fame?

People want to give you things.... [But] the best part of it is not necessarily materialistic. It's receiving compliments from such legends and such people that I would have never thought to be compared to.

Being a female in a male-dominated field, what kind of resistance, if any, have you felt?

When I was young, boys were all scared of me. I didn't feel any [resistance] then. As soon as they turned like 16, 17, 18 ... it was more difficult.... I had to gain everyone's respect and show them that I'm here and I'm not just a go-cart driver.... So you have to put in the time, you have to put in the effort ... and hope you get all the way.

What did you learn from racing in the Indy 500?

I learned how patience can be beneficial. I learned how mistakes can be very detrimental.... You have to stay calm, you have to take everything as it comes, and take a deep breath.
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Title Annotation:Danica Patrick
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 5, 2005
Words:238
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