Danica Patrick Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

As Danica Patrick prepares for her first NASCAR Sprint Cup race next weekend in the Daytona 500, she's apparently taking advantage of the publicity to try to remediate her image. After seven years of promoting her attractiveness with nearly equal billing to her race driving acumen, Patrick has asked the media to quit calling her "sexy."

According to USA Today, Patrick said "If there is a pretty girl, (reporters) don't know how to describe her other than being sexy. It has such a negative connotation to it ... Why can't there be other words for it? Why does it have to be somewhat negatively twisted?"

Patrick was featured in the 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and has appeared in racy ads for her sponsor GoDaddy.com that also played up her looks. She has also made several "sexiest" lists, including one compiled by Victoria's Secret and two by FHM magazine.

Patrick's big break came in her first Indy 500 appearance, when she became the first woman to lead the race. She finished fourth that year, in the same position she qualified. Patrick raced in the Indy Racing League for seven years, while also competing in ARCA and NASCAR's Nationwide Series in 2010 and 2011 in preparation for this year's transition to Sprint Cup.