How Danica Patrick's exit will impact IndyCar

How Danica Patrick's exit will impact IndyCar

Danica Patrick's fame is vastly disproportionate to her success, but she kept IndyCar racing on the radar in its darkest days. So how good was she, how much will IndyCar miss her and why is she digging up her roots and switching to NASCAR?

It was the perfect storm: the vaunted Indianapolis 500 had lost its heart and its way since The Split and heroes on track were as scarce as major newspapers in the IMS press room. Indy needed an injection of adrenaline, an exciting storyline and somebody new to cheer for. It got all three in less than 10 minutes.

When Danica Patrick took the lead late in the 2005 Indy 500, the roar from the grandstands resonated across the country's television sets and all the way into barbershop conversations. This pretty, feisty, 100-pound American woman had driven open-wheel racing back into the mainstream and gave the comatose Indy Racing League an instant Q Rating.

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