Danica Patrick returning to Indy 500 … to drive pace car

Racing driver Simona de Silvestro is returning to the Indy 500 with the female-led Paretta Autosport, which aims to be the first team run and primarily staffed by women to compete in the race.

Danica Patrick will lead the field at the 2021 Indy 500 behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible pace car.

Danica Patrick’s last race came at the 2018 Indy 500.
(Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The retired racer competed in eight Indy 500s and finished third in 2009, which remains the best result for a female driver.

Patrick raced IndyCars full time for seven seasons before making the switch to NASCAR in 2012. She became the first and still only woman to win an IndyCar race in 2008 at the Japan Indy 300.

“I have always loved Chevy vehicles, and the Corvette convertible is such a beautiful car,” Patrick said. “Maybe they will let me drive it home.”

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The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible will be the pace car for the Indy 500

Patrick, who is primarily a fitness entrepreneur these days, will also be part of the NBC Sports broadcast team for the event.


Her final race came at the 2018 Indy 500, which was part of a “Danica Double” retirement tour that also saw her compete in the NASCAR Daytona 500 that year.

Both events ended prematurely, however, as she was involved in crashes that took her out of the races.

The 2020 Indy 500 was the first since 1999 to not feature a female driver, but Simona de Silvestro will attempt to qualify for this year’s running for a team run and staffed primarily by women.