Danica Patrick to become first woman to host ESPYS

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick will continue her trailblazing career by hosting ESPN’s ESPYS—making her the first woman to host the sports awards show.

Patrick said she experienced her first ESPYS in 2005 and has counted herself as a fan ever since.

“It is the biggest night of the year for sports,” she told ESPN. “Every year, I leave feeling so inspired! I am excited to be able to help celebrate, laugh and cry about the past year in sports with everyone. It’s going to be a great night and one full of more than a few surprises.”

Patrick is retiring from racing, and this year’s Indianapolis 500 marks her last race. In 2005, Patrick became the first female driver to lead laps and finish in the top five during the 500. She later became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in a North America series.

Patrick left IndyCar for NASCAR, where she’s the only woman to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole; she finished eighth in the 2013 Daytona 500, marking the highest finish ever for a woman.

Patrick met her current boyfriend, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, during the 2012 edition of the awards show. She said the meeting was quick and she got his email address. They would later exchange phone numbers and date.

Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning hosted the show last year.

The 26th annual ESPYS will be held on July 18 at L.A.’s Microsoft Theater.