Danica Patrick becomes first female host of ESPYs

Race-car driver Danica Patrick is set to host the 2018 ESPYS, making her the first woman to host the show since it began in 1993. The 2018 ESPYS will take place July 8 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. ABC will have the U.S. telecast of the show at 8 p.m. ET. Patrick has announced that she will retire from professional race-car driving this year. 

Patrick is no stranger to breaking gender barriers. She is the first female driver to lead laps and have a top 5 finish at the Indianapolis 500, after leading 19 laps and finishing fourth in 2005. She broke the record for most top 10 finishes of any woman in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2015. She also holds the female record for the most starts, laps led and top 10s in NASCAR history.

Her victory in the 2008 IndyCar Series Indy Japan 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan made Patrick the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel race in a North American series. In 2015, she also became the first woman to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the Daytona 500,  where that year she finished in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman. In 2017, Patrick was the subject of the Epix documentary film “Danica.”

The annual ESPYS are ESPN’s awards that honor outstanding achievers in sports. Nominees and presenters for the 2018 ESPYS are to be announced. However, the ESPYs have announced that the recipients of this year’s Arthur Ashe Award for Courage will go to all the abuse survivors who spoke out in court against Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor who was convicted of numerous sex crimes in 2017.

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