04/30/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Danica Patrick: Historic IndyCar Winner Defies The Odds

Danica Patrick has rocked the racing world by becoming the first female winner ever in IndyCar racing. It was by no means easy, and she beat the men at their own game while enduring sexism and disappointment through the beginning of her career:

Danica Patrick endured sexist remarks and disappointment through 49 starts without a victory over more than three years in the male-dominated world of Indy-car racing.

But the 26-year-old American kept her poise and that's why the lady is now a champion, becoming the first woman in a century of open-wheel racing to win an event after taking the checkered flag in Sunday's Indy Japan 300.

"Dreams really do come true. You just have to be persistent enough," Patrick said. "This was a long time coming. I can only say I'm just glad it's over.

"I'm not going to lie. I was getting frustrated. I believed in myself. It was just a matter of when it was going to happen. I've been asked so many times when I'm going to win my first race -- finally no more of those questions."

Patrick jumped to third in the Indy-car points list after three events, 14 behind Brazilian leader Helio Castroneves, and will be the talk of next month's Indianapolis 500, where her fourth-place effort in 2005 is the best by a woman.

Few sports even offer women a chance to beat men.

Read more about Patrick's historical victory here.

US News and World Report has the temerity to ask whether or not Patrick's win is a "big deal."

We think it is, but tell us what you think in the comments.