Danica Patrick to be behind the wheel and flew previous Hélio Castroneves top top the outside for the lead so late in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 at pair Ring Motegi Superspeedway. She only had actually a couple of more laps. She just had to hang on before making history.

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Then it became clear Castroneves couldn’t catch her. There was no way. And also after leading for just three the 200 laps in ~ the 1.5-mile track in she No. 7 Andretti environment-friendly Racing Honda, Patrick take it the checkered flag on April 20, 2008, making she the only woman to overcome the complete line first in one IndyCar collection race.

It was the just checkered flag the Patrick’s career, and also she remains the just woman to ever before win one IndyCar race. And when she walked far from the race track for great in 2018 — her farewell tourism was referred to as the “Danica Double” together she finished with NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 — she was (and quiet is) the just female driver to race consistently full-time at the optimal of both disciplines.

In respect of Danica’s an initial and just career success 12 years back Monday, for The win spoke through the retired driver around how she views her historical win, the celebration that still was standing out and also how she reacted to doubters over it.

This interview has actually been condensed and edited because that clarity.

What’s the an initial thing that pertains to mind as soon as someone mentions your success in Japan?

Finally. Ns think it constantly has been that. It was a finally moment. I likewise think to myself, “My goodness, the was together a long time ago now.”

Is the your feeling about it now, or to be there a moment at or near the end of the race when you felt the way?

It’s just a general feeling. Ns felt prefer in my IndyCar career, there to be so numerous times previously on that it to be sitting ideal there, and, shoot, consisting of my fourth race in IndyCar in the Indy 500. and also I’m so grateful it happened, and it was yes, really fun.

What else stands out as soon as you think back?

The tasks that taken place after, from drink a huge bottle of services on the helicopter on the way down to the airport to flying house with Dan Wheldon and also Scott Dixon and everybody. We drank the airplane dry — either that or they reduced us off — of your liquor. And also then I had actually a 3 a.m. Wake-up call to obtain hair and makeup excellent the following morning to walk on East coastline morning TV. That was simply a whirlwind.

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That was a lengthy time ago, and I’m learning how to perform a pair things. Among them is having actually a little an ext perspective and pride top top the things that have happened, prefer letting go of the mentality that has run mine life, i m sorry is just, “Never enough and also never great enough.” So rather of looking back at that minute with any kind that negativity like, “I wish i would have actually had an ext wins,” or “I great it would have actually come sooner,” ns look back, and I’m simply grateful. And I had a good career.

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