NASCAR's Danica Patrick Is Fourth Most-Searched Sportsperson on the Internet

Danica Patrick's NASCAR results may not be making headlines, but her popularity is still high. According to Yahoo, the 33-year-old racing driver ranked fourth on the list of most-searched athletes in 2015.
Danica Patrick 1 photo
Photo: Bryan Frank
Patrick was surpassed in number of searches by Ronda Rousey (UFC fighter), Lindsey Vonn (skier), and Maria Sharapova (tennis player). No, this wasn't a list comprised solely of female athletes, but it kind of makes sense that women would rank higher in searches when you think about it. Tiger Woods, sixth, was the highest-ranking male athlete.

Danica Patrick's popularity seems to have declined, judging by rankings in previous years. She was third in 2013 and first in 2011. Maybe the complete lack of podium finishes over the past three years has taken its toll. To be fair, though, Patrick had her best year in NASCAR in 2015. She managed two top-ten finishes and placed 24th in the Sprint Cup series.

So how come a not-so-successful sportsperson ranks so high in internet searches, not to mention being the only NASCAR driver in the top ten? The answer is, of course, marketing. Danica Patrick has been the poster girl for women in motorsport for many years, drawing some harsh criticism along the way.

Fellow racing driver Kyle Petty called her a "marketing machine" while Kyle's dad, the legendary Richard Petty, said in an interview that the only way Danica Patrick would win a NASCAR race was "if everybody else stayed home." Ouch! She did win one IndyCar race, however, and is the only woman ever to do so. She's also the only woman ever to win a Sprint Cup pole.

It wasn't all good news for Patrick this year, though. Longtime sponsor GoDaddy will no longer support her in 2016 when she will also have a new crew chief at Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick has penned a deal with a new primary sponsor, TaxACT, and she has already tweeted a picture of her and her Chevrolet showing off the new colors.
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