Danica Patrick Is Destined to Be Richest Female Athlete

danica patrickDanica Patrick is on top of the world. She's currently closing in on sealing a deal to drive a full-time Nationwide Series schedule with JR Motorsports (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s team) PLUS a limited Sprint Cup Series with Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas team. As rumor has it, she would also continue to participate in Indianapolis 500, as well. Wowza! That's a super-packed schedule if I ever heard of one.

Adding even more fuel to Patrick's fire: Forbes recently ranked her the third-highest paid female athlete, with an annual income estimated at $12 million. The only female athletes who surpass her are tennis players Maria Sharapova ($25 million) and Caroline Wozniacki ($12.5 million). That's pretty amazing, especially given that Patrick has had to face being one of the only females in the race car world.

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Obviously, people like Sharapova and Wozniacki have a whole fan base and market carved out for them, because women have almost always played tennis, and women watch women playing tennis. But the same isn't exactly true for Patrick. She has had and will continue to have more of an uphill battle to become successful and perhaps even beat out Sharapova and Wozniacki for those top spots!

She can definitely do it, and moving onto NASCAR is one way. But she has to be strategic about it. She has to win, first of all, and she has to continue to prove that she can compete right alongside the guys. She's done an impressive job of that so far, so it wouldn't surprise me if she was able to keep it up and even take it further.

She might also benefit from targeting more female fans. So far, she's been that sexy chick on the GoDaddy commercials, showing some skin, playing the sexy model-turned-racecar-driver to get male fans on board with her brand. But she's got the potential to make a lot of moolah from merchandise ... just not the kind of merchandise men will necessarily buy.

So, she may want to think about readjusting her image so she's appealing more to us ladies! Maybe make a guest appearance on The View? Trade in the sex kitten act for GoDaddy into one focused on her multitasking and tough businesswoman lifestyle? I have a feeling moving in that direction would make her golden -- literally and figuratively. 

Do you think Danica's move to NASCAR will make her richer and more successful?

 

Image via Nick Ledford/Flickr

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