Danica Patrick is the kids’ choice

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Sprint Cup rookie Danica Patrick added Nickelodeon’s famous orange blimp to her trophy mantle tonight, earning the 2013 Kids’ Choice Award for favorite female athlete.

“What?!!!!! Thank you tweeps for voting for me for this #kidschoiceaward!,” Patrick tweeted afterwards, perhaps in a bit of shock as her message may attest.

The Stewart-Haas Racing pilot and former IndyCar race winner won the vote over tennis queens Serena and Venus Williams, as well as Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas. The KCA is being held this evening at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles, which allowed Patrick the chance to accept the award in person after finishing up her day at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Patrick was 36th-quickest in today’s Sprint Cup final practice session and will start 40th for tomorrow’s 400-miler at ACS. Her results have fallen off decisively since finishing eighth in the Daytona 500 (average finish post-Daytona: 33rd), but Patrick isn’t worrying too much just yet.

“I know that I have a lot to learn and I know that as a group, we have a lot to learn together to figure out where the car is best for me so we can be closer more of the weekend,” Patrick said to the media on Friday at ACS. “But we will get it. I’m not discouraged or afraid at this point for anything.

“This is just the process that we go through. We will be fine.”