Professional racecar driver Danica Patrick will take the stage at Microsoft Theater, making history as the first female to host the 2018 ESPYs.
“I have a thing for doing things for the first time as a woman,” the Illinois native told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show”.
The ESPYs (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award), is a sports-driven awards show recognizing top athletes from around the world.
Patrick has been a longtime fan of the awards show. She attended her first ESPYs back in 2005, and has come back every year since.
It is the biggest night of the year for sports. Every year I leave feeling so inspired! I am excited to be able to help celebrate, laugh and cry about the past year in sports with everyone. It’s going to be a great night and one full of more than a few surprises.”
The awards show also holds a special place in her heart, because it was where she met her beau, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“We met at the ESPYs back in 2012. We both remember meeting each other. It was quick. But I got his email address. And I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh, on the down low. Not a phone number, just an email address. Whatever,” Patrick says of their encounter.
They dated other people throughout the years, but kept in touch sporadically. In January, it was revealed that they were a couple, despite their rival sports allegiances (Patrick is a Chicago Bears fan).
Patrick recently announced she will be retiring from racing, following the upcoming Indianapolis 500. The motorsport pioneer holds many accolades, including being the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel race in a North American series, as well as the first women to win a NASCAR Cup series pole following her accomplishment of meeting the fastest time to qualify for the Daytona 500. As a NASCAR athlete, Patrick has broken the record for the most top 10 finishes of any woman in the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series and currently has seven top 10s.
Don’t miss the 26th annual ESPY Awards, broadcasting live on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 18, at 8 p.m. ET.