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Danica Patrick Spent Years Preparing to Retire -- by Laying the Groundwork for a New Career How do you trade the comforts of a job you know well for the unknown of entrepreneurship? Just-retired race car driver Danica Patrick is finding out.

By Aaron Gell

This story appears in the July 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In the weeks leading up to Danica Patrick's final IndyCar race this past May, she spent her time the way most drivers do -- practicing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and running through details with her team. But with about two weeks to go before she'd suit up professionally for the last time, she is summoned to do a little salesmanship. A group of teenage girls has been assembled at the speedway's main building, and NASCAR has asked Patrick to give them a pep talk about the exciting possibilities of a career in professional auto racing.

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Who better for the job? Almost nobody, really. Patrick is one of the few women to find success in motorsports, a pursuit -- and a business -- long dominated by men. From her spectacular run in open-wheel racing, where she became the first, and still only, woman to win an IndyCar Series race, to her transition to stock-car racing, to her recurring pit stops to star in a run of head-turning Super Bowl ads for internet services powerhouse GoDaddy, Patrick has been one of the most recognizable figures in racing for the past 13 years.

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