Danica Patrick Declined to Pose in the 2013 ESPN Body Issue
Danica Patrick won't be posing nude for ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue, Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition or any other magazine—for now.
Stock-car racing's most infamous female driver spoke during her weekly press conference about being approached to do this year's Body Issue, which hit newsstands Friday. While not completely taking the possibility of a future photo shoot off the table, Patrick said she's not in a place at this point in her career where she'd feel comfortable baring all, per Associated Press sports writer Dan Gelston (h/t ThatsRacin.com).
"I mean as far as artistically, I think it'd be really fun, but it's not things that I need to do to push the issue with my brand," Patrick said. "There's already enough stuff that I do that pushes that."
Patrick also noted that she's turned down Sports Illustrated's requests to pose in a body-paint bikini for the publication's Swimsuit Edition. She appeared in both the 2008 and 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editions, but she was in bathing suits in each shoot. Patrick has also appeared in other men's publications, including GQ.
ESPN the Magazine's Body issue, in its fifth iteration, features athletes from all sports posing fully nude in artistic poses. This year's edition features appearances from 77-year-old golfer Gary Player, MMA fighter Miesha Tate and Funny Car racer Courtney Force, who is viewed somewhat as the Patrick of her sport.
As one of the sport's few female drivers—and the only Sprint Cup regular this season—Patrick has become one of the most marketable faces. Rising through the ranks, first with IndyCar before moving to stock cars regularly in 2012, she's become more recognizable to some for her off-the-track ventures than her on-track performances.
Patrick, whose sponsorship deals—especially with Go Daddy—have bordered on risque for NASCAR's more conservative fanbase, has never posed nude in a publication. She noted that the most scandalous commercials or magazines in which she's appeared have stopped the line at bathing suits.
"There's a difference to me between going to the beach and wearing a swimming suit and going to the beach and wearing nothing or paint," she said. "That's just pushing the limit a little bit."
Even so, Patrick's decisions have not come without criticism. Last month former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, the son of racing legend Richard Petty, called out Patrick for her lack of top-shelf performances and named her a "marketing machine" on Speed TV, per the Sporting News' Bob Pockrass.
"I think she's come a long way, but she's still not a race-car driver," Petty said. "And I don't think she's ever going to be a race-car driver."
Criticism aside, Patrick maintains her sponsors would have no problem with her posing artistically nude. And she has told publications that her stance may change in the future.
"When I speak to them and they ask me, each time I say, 'Don't stop asking,'" Patrick said. "I don't know. I might change my mind one year. And it might be something that parallels something else I'm doing, or where I'm at, or how I'm feeling. But just not right now."
Patrick was speaking with the media in preparation for NASCAR's Camping World RV Sales 301 on Sunday at New Hampshire. The 31-year-old Patrick is in 25th place in the Sprint Cup standings this year, her second driving the No. 10 GoDaddy.com car for Stewart-Haas Racing. She is technically a rookie on NASCAR's biggest circuit, having only raced a limited schedule in 2012.
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