At the early age of 10, Patrick began a lifelong career of racing because her family was looking for a hobby to do together. They discovered a common interest in go-karts and it wasn't long before she won many regional karting titles. When she turned 16 she moved to England to pursue her driving career. Her difficulty in breaking into auto racing field helped develop a strong sense of independence. By 2001 she was recognized as the most aspiring road course competitor and the top female open wheel race car driver.
She won the 2005 Indy Rookie of the Year Award and won the 2008 Indy Japan 300. She drove in the Nascar Nationwide Series and in the Sprint Cup Series with many top ten finishes. Patrick was very popular and was embraced as a pop-culture icon appearing on talk shows, in magazines, and in the movies. She has inspired many young women into motorsports and broken the gender barrier in a field which had been predominantly male.