Whether you love her or think she’s a bit overrated, just about every racing fan knows Danica Patrick. Between her time on the IndyCar circuit and the stock car scene, the driver undeniably earned a place in motorsports history. If nothing else, she had more success behind the wheel than she did working retail.
Before she hit it big, Danica Patrick spent some time working retail in Limited Too. Thanks to her attitude, though, she wasn’t exactly destined for success.
Danica Patrick’s early motorsports career
With most elite athletes, their talent is apparent from an early age. The same was certainly true for Danica Patrick.
When Patrick was a child, she and her sister convinced their father to buy them go-karts instead of a family pontoon boat. While Danica’s first time behind the wheel ended in disaster—there was a brake problem, and she drove straight into the wall—she was hooked on racing.
Before long, Patrick had made a name for herself on the go-kart scene and enrolled in the Lyn St. James Foundation Driver Development Program. Eventually, though, she needed to do something to take her skills to the next level.
In 1998, Patrick dropped out of high school and moved to England to try to further her racing career. After her first season abroad, though, there was an issue: amid rumors that she was more worried about partying than she was about racing, she lost her financial backing.
A brief career working retail
Faced with that roadblock, Danica Patrick returned home to the United States during the offseason. Like many other teenagers, she found herself working retail.
“I worked at the Limited Too for a while,” Patrick told Graham Bensinger. “I didn’t do very well at that; I didn’t do very well at all. That’s not my jam.”
Patrick, it seems, wasn’t cut out for customer service. When the going got tough, she couldn’t resist sniping back at shoppers who she felt were taking an attitude.
“Here’s the problem,” she continued. “My rude is, like, so much worse than your rude. You’ll never remember the first rude. … I got written up twice in like a month. Anyway, it wasn’t really for me.”
Everything worked out for Danica Patrick in the long run, though
Thankfully for Danica Patrick, it wasn’t her destiny to work in retail. With her father’s financial help, she returned to England for two more years.
While that time abroad didn’t lead to any major breakthroughs, everything changed when Bobby Rahal gave Patrick a chance. She joined the Rahal Letterman Racing IndyCar team for the 2005 campaign; before long, she had made a name for herself on the circuit. In 2010, she made her famous move to stock racing, eventually racing in NASCAR’s Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series.
While there’s room to debate the merits of Patrick’s career—she didn’t set the world on fire from a racing perspective, only winning one race across both IndyCar and NASCAR—she was still pretty successful during her time in motorsports. In addition to making plenty of history in a male-dominated field, Danica was a major commercial success. Today, her estimated net worth sits somewhere between $60 and $80 million.
In retirement, Danica Patrick has found plenty of other ways to fill her time, ranging from podcasts and books to clothing and wine. Thankfully for everyone involved, though, she doesn’t need to work in retail.