NASCAR driver Danica Patrick shows no signs of slowing down — but she may be getting more sensible off the racetrack.
Patrick, who will compete in Sunday’s Daytona 500, said she rarely drives her silver Lamborghini Gallardo these days, thanks to problems such as potholes, parking and lack of trunk space.
“I just needed something more practical,” Patrick told Yahoo! Sports. “It sounds stupid but there are no cup holders in my Lamborghini. So what’s a girl to do?”
Patrick bought the car, which retails for about $202,000, in 2007 after deciding her 645 BMW convertible was too slow.
“To take a step up from a 645 was tough,” she said.
“I had all these criteria levels. So to take it to the next level I had to make a real jump," said Patrick, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. with her husband. "There was no good in-between. It was just a matter of what look was better. So to kick it up a notch the Lamborghini was it.”
As one of the few female race car drivers and the only woman to ever win in the IndyCar Series, Patrick is often described as infiltrating “a man’s world.” But the Indy record-breaker, who has posed for FHM and a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, objects to being called a "sex symbol."
“People don't know how to describe women in a pretty way. Do you call Blake Griffin a sex symbol because he was on the cover of Men’s Health with his shirt off? People just don't know what to call women who look attractive,” Patrick recently told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. "The easiest thing to do, that gets the most attention, and that people are familiar with hearing, is ‘sex symbol.’”
Patrick preferred to heat up the streets instead, driving her Lambo everywhere — to dinner, to the store — even to pick up her sister, Brooke, at the airport in 2009.
“The last straw was probably having to pick up my sister at the airport in a Lamborghini,” Patrick said. “I couldn’t have felt more stupid. I’m serious. I felt so stupid.
“She’s got bags. I don’t have a trunk. I’ve got a briefcase-sized spot in the front of the car. I have no space.”
After that, Patrick picked up a more practical Mercedes ML63 AMG, a mid-sized luxury SUV.
“Once I went with the ‘daily driver,’ I just went past the point of needing a Lamborghini,” Patrick said, adding that she now keeps the car in the garage most of the time.
The SUV may not be as speedy as a Lamborghini, but nothing can slow Patrick down. While driving the Mercedes a few years ago she got pulled over for doing 57 in a 40 and later drove off with a speeding ticket and an opportunity to attend traffic school.
“I tried to pull the race car driver card,” Patrick told the New York Daily News at the time. “I said, ‘I’m a race car driver. I’m not going to hurt anyone out here. I know what I’m doing.’ He said, ‘I don’t know who you are and I don’t care.’”