Danica Patrick walked onstage at the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Wednesday to the tune of "Used to Be My Girl," a reference to the fact that the host was once her team owner.
When Patrick became the first woman to win an IndyCar event over the weekend, it was for Andretti Green Racing, not Rahal Letterman Racing. That didn't keep Letterman from warmly welcoming Patrick onto his CBS show to celebrate her groundbreaking victory.
"You meant so much to people," Letterman told her, "not only in racing, people, families, kids, young boys and young girls, but kids interested in all kinds of sports. Because they see this tremendous accomplishment of yours, succeeding and competing in a heretofore usually male-dominated field, and they say to themselves, 'By gosh, I'm going to try something and maybe I can succeed as well.'
"So, I mean, congratulations on the win, but more important congratulations on that because that's a lovely thing."
He asked whether Patrick believes it's true that you become a different driver after your first win.
"That burden is gone, and, you know, that monkey's off your back," she said. "And especially my long-awaited victory that I don't know how many times I was asked, 'So, when are you going to win your first race?'"
Letterman also was curious where all her hair goes during the race.
"I don't have a little scrunchie on my wrist because that really wouldn't look very nice with my outfit," Patrick joked. "But, yeah, I put it back, put my hair back and it goes underneath the suit. So it's a matted mess when I get done. All you girls with long hair know what I'm talking about."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.