Rookie Card Year: 2006
Investment Rating: 6.0
When you combine girl-next-door good looks with speeds of 230 miles per hour, it tends to get people's attention, particularly men. Such is the case with racing diva Danica Patrick. Her up-and-down success on the track has resulted in Madison Avenue opportunities off of it in modeling and advertising.
Addicted to speed at a young age, like most future professional drivers, Patrick's racing career started on the go-kart tracks of rural Illinois and Wisconsin. Quickly displaying a knack for learning a track's nuances and how to get the most out of the horsepower allotted her, she progressed to Formula Fords as a teenager in England.
Returning to the States to race for Rahal Letterman Racing in junior circuits serving as a gateway to IRL, she consistently finished in the top five with several podium finishes. In 2005, Patrick posted the fastest lap during the Indianapolis 500 time trials. Eventually qualifying fourth for the race's start, it was the highest ever achieved by a woman at the famed Brickyard. During the actual race, she became the first woman to be on the lead lap, a total of 19, and secured her starting position with a fourth-place finish. As a result of her historic achievements at Indy, she was recognized as IRL's Rookie of the Year.
Perhaps no other driver in the history of racing has been surrounded with so much hype despite just one career victory (Indy Japan 300 on April 20, 2008). In over 100 career starts, Patrick has just three poles to go with her single win. Her highest points rank was fifth in 2009. Despite these statistics, it was no surprise when JR Motorsports of NASCAR's Nationwide Series came calling in 2010 to ask about her interest in competing on an additional circuit. With three top ten finishes and the money available to her in more endorsement opportunities, Patrick has recently committed to NASCAR full-time for the 2012 season leaving behind her open wheel career.
Because Danica Patrick embodies two things men love, speed and beauty, her memorabilia items are in strong demand. Her autograph, despite being a gracious in-person signer, commands top dollar on the secondary market. Numerous trading cards exist from companies like Press Pass and Rittenhouse. Given that she has raced in two different, non-competing circuits, her rookie cards hail from two different years. Cards issued in 2007 are her Indy rookie cards and cards issued in 2010 are her NASCAR rookie cards. To further complicate matters, Patrick also appeared in 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter, a baseball set that also has athletes from other sports, pop culture figures and overlooked champions. Patrick also signed a small number of cards for the set.
Unlike other sports, die-cast racing collectibles are extremely popular. Patrick has several scale model cars available for both open wheel and stock car enthusiasts. Perhaps her most popular items are autographed copies of the 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in which she appeared in for a four-page spread.
Danica Patrick Rookie Card Checklist
IRL Rookie Cards
NASCAR Rookie Cards