Even if you aren’t the biggest IndyCar or NASCAR fan, you probably remember Danica Patrick. During her time on the motorsports circuit, the driver quite literally made history. She also made quite a bit of money along the way.
While she didn’t capture many checkered flags at the highest level of competition, Danica Patrick still earned a nice chunk of change as a professional race car driver. In fact, she used to employ two private CPAs in order to help manage her money.
Danica Patrick’s time behind the wheel
It’s tough enough to make a name for yourself in one professional sport. Danica Patrick, however, made headlines on both the IndyCar and NASCAR circuits.
Patrick started our racing go-karts and, despite a crash during one of her first times on the track, proved to be a natural behind the wheel. She eventually joined the Lyn St. James Foundation Driver Development Program before heading across the pond to gain more open-wheel racing experience.
In 2004, Danica Patrick returned to the United States to join Rahal Letterman Racing for the 2005 IndyCar season. She wasn’t ready to rest on her laurels, though; before long, the driver set her sights on stock car racing.
Danica started out in the ARCA Racing Series before joining the Nationwide Series as a part-time competitor; she then made the jump to the Sprint Cup Series in 2012 and remained there until retiring from NASCAR after the 2018 Daytona 500.
Finding commercial success, even without winning races
All in all, Danica Patrick’s career as a driver was somewhat of a mixed bag; while she made history in a male-dominated sport and had some impressive individual performances, she only won one race during her combined time in NASCAR and IndyCar Series racing. She didn’t have any issues, however, on the commercial side of things.
Despite her on-track struggles, Patrick “continues to be an extremely powerful marketing personality, trailing only legendary drivers Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, and John Force in the name-recognition metric known as the Q Score,” Kristi Dosh reported for ESPN in 2012. “According to the Q Score Company, 76 percent of people in its annual poll were familiar with Patrick, much higher than the 48 percent average for all active and retired race car drivers. The figure is also a solid increase from the 69 percent of people who were familiar with her in last year’s poll.”
Thanks to that name recognition, Patrick had no problem scoring endorsement deals with Coke, Nationwide, and Hot Wheels, among other companies. Those helped her build up a net worth, which reportedly sits in the neighborhood of $60 to $80 million.
Danica Patrick paid two CPAs to help manage her money
In the world of sports, there have been plenty of horror stories about athletes mismanaging their money and going broke shortly after retirement. During her racing career, however, Danica Patrick took proactive steps to make sure her money was being managed properly.
According to Brant James’ 2012 espnW story about Patrick’s inner circle, the driver employed “two private CPAs” at the time. Similar to a pit crew, those two accountants handled separate jobs to help the entire operation run smoothly.
The first CPA ” oversees the daily flow of cash and tax obligations,” according to James. “She’s sort of the comptroller of my money,” Danica clarified, “so she’s the one who gets all the payments. She gets all the deposits. She’s the one who sets aside taxes and quarterlies.” At that point, the second CPA, who acted as more of a traditional financial adviser, took over to handle the money and take care of any investments.
Hiring one, let alone two, CPAs is quite the investment. For Danica Patrick, however, that cost seems to have been well worth it.