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Despite being a North Carolina native, Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 was Brooklyn Decker's first NASCAR race and she spent the afternoon before giving the command hanging with Danica Patrick, and taking a pace car ride around Charlotte Motor Speedway as a guest of the race's sponsor.
Patrick and Decker, the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model, first met when Patrick posed for the 2008 Swimsuit issue. That appearance, plus Patrick's multitude of GoDaddy ads and other endorsements, have made her the transcendent (and polarizing) figure that she is. On Sunday, Decker said that she respected Patrick's cross-market appeal.
"So the fact that she can transcend demographics and fans and people who aren't maybe a fan of the sport — who are just a fan of her — I think she brings people to the sport and I think if anything that shows her strength in the sport," Decker said.
"A, I think the fact that she's a woman and B, the fact that she uses (status as a public figure) to be a woman, she isn't shying away from that and I think that's really impressive. And I think the attention that she's brought to the sport and to herself as an idol and as a driver, I think it's to be respected."
Decker also said that she'd pick Patrick to be her hypothetical getaway driver (a question that's a From the Marbles interview staple), because while she may be a huge name, she also has the ability to blend in.
"I would say Danica, A because I know her and I feel like we could have some of that — we could make hand signals and know what we're talking about," Decker said. "And also I think she could be a little bit — you could put a baseball cap on her and people would just think she's just a college student walking around. We could hide easily."