CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed tomorrow, Saturday, April 26, 2008 “Danica Patrick Day” in Illinois in recognition of the female driver raised in Roscoe, Illinois who won the Japan 300 auto race last Sunday, becoming the first female driver in IndyCar series history to win a race. On Sunday, April 27, Danica will travel to the Kansas Speedway and compete in the RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300 race in Kansas City.
“We have a new hero in Illinois. Danica made history last weekend and all of Illinois is proud to honor her talent and achievement,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I’m proclaiming Saturday, April 26, as Danica Patrick Day in Illinois, and encourage everyone to join me in recognizing her success and wish her the best of luck as she heads back to the racetrack on Sunday. We all look forward to her bright future in sports car racing.”
During the Japan 300, the 26-year old Danica started the race from the third row and closely followed the leaders throughout the race, making her final pit stop under caution on the 148th lap. She was as low as eighth place on the 189th lap, but was able to seize her chance when the leaders headed to the pits late in the race. She took the lead in the final two laps of the 200-lap race, thrilling the crowds as she pulled off one of the biggest upsets in all of the race’s history. In 2005, Danica became only the fourth woman to ever race in the Indy 500 and the first woman to ever lead a lap in the history of the race. That year, she also captured the coveted “Rookie of the Year” trophy at the Indy awards.
Danica Patrick Day will take place on Saturday, April 26, 2008 in honor of her outstanding win.
WHEREAS, on Sunday, April 20, 2008, former Roscoe, Illinois resident Danica Patrick made history by capturing first place in the Indy Japan 300. The victory makes Danica the first female winner in IndyCar history; and
WHEREAS, Patrick took the lead from pole-sitter Helio Castroneves on the 198th lap in the 200-lap race, finishing 5.8594 seconds ahead of Castroneves on the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval; and
WHEREAS, Patrick started the race from the third row and closely followed the leaders throughout the race, making her final pit stop under caution on the 148th lap. She was as low as eighth place on the 189th lap, but was able to seize her chance when the leaders headed to the pits late in the race; and
WHEREAS, Danica previously made history in 2005 as only the fourth woman to ever race in the Indy 500 and the first woman to ever lead a lap in the history of the race. That same year, she also captured the coveted “Rookie of the Year” trophy at the Indy awards; and
WHEREAS, thus far in her professional endeavors, Danica Patrick’s accomplishments have been impressive, highlighted by, among other things, her third-place finish in the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship final season standings and her outstanding performance at the 2005 Indianapolis 500; and
WHEREAS, as a woman of only 26 years of age, Danica Patrick has already made her mark on history with her sparkling achievements as a professional driver. Illinois, being the state where Danica was raised, is extremely proud of her recent success, and is pleased to join in honoring her on this occasion:
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim April 26, 2008 as DANICA PATRICK DAY in Illinois, and encourage all citizens to join in recognition of Danica’s historic first-place finish in the Indy Japan 300, and look forward to even more success in the future for this highly-talented young driver.