This day in sports: Danica Patrick becomes first woman to win IndyCar race

IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick celebrates after winning at Twin Ring Motegi on April 20, 2008.
(Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images)

Danica Patrick kept her foot on the throttle until she took the checkered flag in the Japan 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi raceway on this date in 2008, making her the first woman to win an IndyCar series race.

Patrick, driving for Andretti Green Racing, took the lead on the 1.5-mile oval track northeast of Tokyo from polesitter Helio Castroneves with two laps to go in the 200-lap event, and finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of Castroneves. It was the 26-year-old Beloit, Wis., native Patrick’s 50th IndyCar race.

The Angels were scheduled to begin a seven-game homestand Monday night at Angel Stadium, starting with the first of three against the Baltimore Orioles. It is the Angels’ 17th game in April postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1912 — Fenway Park opens on a sunny day in Boston with the Red Sox topping the N.Y. Yankees (known then as the Highlanders) 7-6 in 11 innings before a crowd of 24,000. In Detroit, Navin Field also opens its gates as the Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 6-5. The ballpark was renamed Briggs Stadium in 1935, and then Tiger Stadium in 1961 before closing after the 1999 season on a historic home run by Robert Fick.


1937 — Gee Walker hits for the cycle on opening day to lead the Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Indians. Walker, 23, is the only major league player to hit for the cycle on opening day, and he does it in reverse order: home run, triple, double and single.

Devoted family man Clayton Kershaw sorely misses Dodgers baseball, but he explains why he won’t agree to several months apart from his wife and kids.

April 19, 2020

1986 — Chicago’s Michael Jordan sets an NBA single-game playoff scoring record with 63 points in a 135-131 double overtime loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Jordan, in only his second season, is 22 of 41 from the field and makes 19 of 21 free throws.

1987 — Toshihiko Seko of Japan wins the Boston Marathon for a second time, in 2:11:50. Seko leaves a pack of runners on Heartbreak Hill and finishes ahead of Steve Jones of Wales and two-time champion Geoff Smith of England. Olympics bronze medalist Rosa Mota of Portugal takes the women’s race in 2:25:21.

1990 — Pitcher Brian Holman of the Seattle Mariners is perfect for 8 2/3 innings until Oakland Athletics pinch-hitter Ken Phelps hits a home run. The Mariners scouting report says Phelps is a low fastball hitter who never swings at the first pitch. Holman starts him with a high fastball and Phelps clubs it over the right-field wall at Oakland Coliseum.

2003 — Allen Iverson scores 55 points, making 21 of 32 shots while eclipsing his previous playoff high of 54, as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the New Orleans Hornets 98-90 in Game 1 of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

2006 — Julio Franco becomes the oldest player in big league history to hit a home run, off San Diego’s Scott Linebrink, to help the N.Y. Mets rally for a 7-2 win over the Padres. Franco, 47, replaces Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Jack Quinn in the record book. Franco repeats the feat Sept. 30 in a game he also has five runs batted in.

2008 — Lorena Ochoa becomes the first LPGA Tour player in 45 years to win four tournaments in consecutive weeks. Ochoa shoots a 3-under-par 69 in the final round of the Ginn Open at Reunion, Fla., and beats rookie Yani Tseng by three strokes for her fifth victory in six starts.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press