Danica Patrick burst into the spotlight in 2005 when she began her IndyCar Series career. In her fifth race, she became the first woman to lead the Indy 500 and finished fourth. For the past 13 years, Patrick has shattered barriers for women in IndyCar and NASCAR.

But Patrick's journey, which started as a child in Wisconsin and Illinois, was not as easy as a drive down Interstate 65 to Indianapolis. Patrick actually left the United States at 16, moving to England to compete in British national series events. 

She moved back to the U.S. in 2002, but Patrick never exactly got the full American teenage experience. While speaking to New York City-area high school students to promote her documentary, "Danica," produced and directed by Hannah Storm, Patrick was asked about what it was like to drop out of high school. The now 35-year-old delivered a candid answer.

"Heck no, that wasn't hard," Patrick says. "Leaving high school when I was 16 and I didn't have to go to school anymore? Seriously? That was not hard. For my parents, it might have been hard for, but for me it wasn't. It was exciting. I loved not having to go to school anymore. I was moving an ocean away from my parents. That was exciting! Maybe because that's how I chose to see it, I don't know. I never went to prom. I didn't go on trips. I didn't do all kinds of fun things on the weekends, I got kicked off of cheerleading for being gone for racing too much. Maybe it would be scary for someone else to move to another country, without their family and no friends. Maybe that is how someone else would see it, and if they saw it that way, then that's exactly how it would be for them, but for me, I was excited. So, for me, it was very much my college.

"Society values the diploma, the degree, all that stuff, so I was like, 'OK, I'm going to have to make this racing thing really work now.' It was kind of one those dig deep, you’ve go to make it work.

"I don't condone dropping out of school. I don't condone that because for the most part, most people don't know what they want to do it. For the most part, when you go to college, you still don't know what you want to do. That's why people go for general degrees and that's fine, you just don't know yet. Everyone has a different path, everybody will figure it out, eventually if you dig deep within yourself. You can't just be on autopilot in life and expect it to just happen for you."

"Danica" premiered on Epix on Nov. 8.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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