NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Danica Patrick’s won for favorite female athlete at Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards for the third time.
Patrick beat out the Williams sisters — tennis champions Serena and Venus — and Olympic gold-medal gymnast Gabby Douglas at the USC Galen Center on Saturday in Los Angeles..
After hearing she had won, the petite Patrick ran up to the stage and playfully slapped kids’ hands on the way by to accepting the honor.
“This is a huge award. It means so much when I see you at the race track, and you cheer for me.”
Her growing fan base and ability to make a mark in a predominantly male sport is nothing short of impressive. National media appearances and respect from other drivers flowed in Saturday night, but nothing was more important to Patrick than gaining the admiration of her youngest fans. Sprint Cup stars Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards all brought their daughters to meet NASCAR’s sweetheart.
It is the second straight year Patrick has won the award. She also won in 2008. Other winners include basketball player Candace Parker (2009), volleyball player Misty May-Treanor (2010) and ski racer Lindsey Vonn (2011).
In an E interview, Patrick gushed about seeing and meeting celebs like Kristen Stewart, Sandra Bullock, Neil Patrick Harris and Johnny Depp while in LA.
The driver , who turns 31 today (b. 3/25/1982), became the first female to win a Sprint Cup pole and lead the Daytona 500 last month. Patrick started her birthday celebration earlier in the week, posting photos of her and her bf, fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., attending a Shania Twain concert in Las Vegas and blowing out candles on a cake.
After winning the Kids Choice Award, Patrick head down to the Sprint Cup Series race at the Auto Club Speedway in nearby Fontana, Calif. where she finished 26th in Sunday’s race.