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3. Danica Patrick

Patrick is the most watched rookie contender in recent years and, perhaps, ever. Not only is she joining the elite Stewart-Haas Racing for her debut campaign, she’s well-known as an IndyCar driver, a female driver and a spokesmodel for sponsor In addition, she’s confessed to dating fellow rookie driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Each element simply adds another layer of scrutiny to a driver who has already earned more than her share. She’s not only battling Stenhouse for rookie of the year, she could offer a real challenge to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hold on the sport’s most popular driver award. Patrick’s every pass, every reaction and every comment will be scrutinized not only by diehard NASCAR fans, but an audience she reaches that extends beyond the sport. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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