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10 Women With a Need for Speed in Honor of Danica Patrick’s First IndyCar Victory

It’s been a decade since Patrick became the first female winner in Indy racing.

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On April 20, 2008, Danica Patrick took the checkered flag at the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.

With the win, the 26-year-old driver became the first female winner in IndyCar racing history.

It’s been a decade since Patrick got her first win and in the years since she has accomplished a number of other firsts for women in American auto racing on both the NASCAR and IndyCar track.

Unfortunately, Patrick will hang up her racing gloves after driving as a pro for the final time at this year’s Indianapolis 500, ending her unofficial reign of being the fastest woman in racing.

So who will take her spot? We’d rather not guess. Instead, we’d like to honor Patrick’s first win and her passing of the proverbial torch by introducing you to 10 other ladies (and their Instagram accounts) with a major need for speed on the racetrack, mountain slope or street.

Natalie Decker

A Wisconsin native who started competing behind the wheel of a go-kart as a kid, Natalie was named the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year in Florida in 2015. Out of all the pro-female drivers competing, Natalie is considered by some to be the most likely to fill Patrick’s shoes.

Hadley Hammer

A big mountain skiers who’s fared quite gnarly on the Freeride World Tour, Hadley is also a sommelier, gourmet chef and self-admitted book nerd. A native of Jackson, WY, Hadley was rock climbing and skiing before she could walk and has a B.A in Hospitality and Economics.

A post shared by Hadley Hammer (@hadhammer) on

A post shared by Hadley Hammer (@hadhammer) on

Rachel Atherton

A world champion downhill biker with multiple titles to her name, Rachel completed an unprecedented perfect season in 2016 by winning every UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round.  Named the Times Young Sportswoman of the Year in 2005, Rachel might be the best female downhill mountain biker on the planet.

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A post shared by Rachel Atherton (@rachybox) on

Simona de Silvestro

Born in Switzerland, Simona drives in the Supercars Australia Championship series for Harvey Norman and her nickname is the “Iron Maiden.” The first woman to score points in the Formula E series, Simona enjoys golf, tennis, fitness and music.

Julia Landauer

A New York City native and Stanford University grad, Julia Landauer is a two-time championship-winning NASCAR driver. The first woman to win a NASCAR Track Championship at Motor Mile Speedway in her division, Julia became the first female champion in the Skip Barber Racing Series at age 14.

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Izzi Gomez

An SUP expert who started her career by winning world titles as a 14-year-old, Izzi qualified for the SUP World Tour just a year before at age 13.  A Red Bull athlete, Izzi was the lone female SUP athlete to represent America at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Mexico.

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A post shared by Izzi Gomez (@izzigomez_) on


Candice Appleby

An ocean lover who started surfing at age nine and competing at 10,  Candice is versed in longboarding, shortboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. Candice Appleby has competed against – and beat – men during her career.

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A post shared by Candice Appleby (@applesteeze) on

Holly Shelton

The daughter of a sprint car crew chief,  Holly was taken go-karts around an indoor track in Sacramento by age seven. Now living in Indiana, Holly balances her online coursework from California State University with a competitive racing schedule on the weekends.

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A post shared by Holly Shelton (@hollys4) on

Leah Pritchett

A professional drag racer, Leah holds NHRA competition licenses in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Mod, Factory Stock and Special Fuel. A California native, Leah enjoys wake surfing, physical fitness, volleyball, motocross, snowboarding, surfing and traveling in her spare time.

Kellyn Taylor

A graduate of Wichita State University, Kellyn was one of the school’s top distance runners of all-time and finished third at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Kellyn runs 100 miles a week and is studying to be a firefighter.

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