Danica Patrick, known to millions for appearing in bikinis in GoDaddy commercials, appeared at Cal Poly speaking as a bold, strong woman who has set multiple records as a professional NASCAR driver. Growing up racing cars, Patrick never thought of herself as a female race car driver, she only thought of herself as a race car driver. That’s what Patrick, the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500, told hundreds of people gathered in the Chumash Auditorium on Tuesday.
“I wasn’t taught to be the best girl, I was taught to be the best driver,” Patrick said.
A NASCAR star and GoDaddy spokeswoman, Patrick was introduced by San Luis Obispo resident Blake Irving and GoDaddy’s chief executive officer. She told the audience that being a female driver was never something that was pointed out to her until she started getting more attention for her racing.
Patrick started off in commercials for GoDaddy in tank tops clutching a beer, and has helped her image evolve into commercials that portray her as a strong woman. Patrick said she appreciates humor in the ads and says the GoDaddy commercials now have a “kick” to them.
Patrick came to Cal Poly to encourage students to go onto more careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and emphasized how important the relationship is between the engineers of each race car and the drivers.
“I would emphasize everyone and anyone — especially kids — to try everything,” she said.
Though she is widely known, Patrick did not plan on being a role model and did not even have her own role model. Rather than looking up to somebody else, Patrick focused on being her own person. She advised the crowd to not be like her, but to strive to be better than her.
“I always wanted to be the first me, not somebody else. And I always wanted to be better than them,” Patrick said. “No one is in control of your happiness but yourself.”