When superstar actress Charlize Theron served as an honorary starter at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, she was exposed to the world of NASCAR from every angle. Yet her interaction with driver Danica Patrick may be what’s sticking in her mind the most these days.

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“I got to go to a drivers’ meeting right before the race,” Charlize said in a March 7 interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” “I’ve been to UFC fights and boxing, and you just expect the fighters to stare each other off. I was not expecting it with racer drivers,” she said. “It was, like, a big tent and there was a lot of people there, but you could spot them just kind of staring each other down.”

And NASCAR fans know darn well that no one can stare anyone down as much as Danica can.

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“There was this really nice announcement made for Danica Patrick because it was her last NASCAR race, and I was just like, ‘Ahhh, oh my god! I want the woman to win.’” Charlize recalled. “I’m, like, trying to be all sweet, and she totally saw me, but she was just like very [focused look.] It wasn’t me. I think she was keeping it for intimidation reasons for the other drivers. It was almost worse than UFC. Oh yeah. They have to work harder because fighters get really close to each other and drivers are in cars.”

And while Charlize and Danica won’t be meeting again at a NASCAR race anytime soon since Danica has now officially retired from NASCAR racing, Charlize may want to tune in come May, as Danica will be racing in the Indianapolis 500 for the final time.

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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