On this day: 05-29-2005
Danica becomes the first woman to lead Indy 500
On this day in 2005, 23-year-old Danica Patrick becomes the first female driver to take the lead in the storied Indianapolis 500. Having previously distinguished herself in the Toyota Atlantic series, Patrick had qualified fourth--another best for a woman--for the 89th Indianapolis 500, only her fifth Indy Racing League event. Patrick entered the Indy 500 in a car co-owned by Bobby Rahal, winner of the Indy 500 in 1986, and David Letterman, the late-night talk show host. Her stellar performance earned her Rookie of the Year honors and a place in the history books alongside Janet Guthrie, who exactly 28 years before--on May 29, 1977--had become the first woman to drive in the Indy 500.