With Silly Season in full force, another domino fell on Tuesday as Danica Patrick announced that she will not be returning to the driver’s seat of the No. 10 Ford and Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018.
Patrick’s contract with SHR went through 2018, but was contingent on her having sponsorship to be able to continue with the team. As the weeks and months have gone along, it became more and more likely that sponsorship opportunities were not lining up for Patrick and her future with SHR was in serious doubt.
In a post to her Facebook page, Patrick made it official that she would not be returning to the team next season.
“It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons,” Patrick said. “Together we earned a Daytona 500 pole, seven top-10 finishes and we also had some exciting racing along the way. My time driving for them, however, has come to an end due to a new sponsorship arrangement in 2018. Sponsorship plays a vital role in our sport, and I have been very fortunate over the course of my career, but this year threw us for a curve. Our amazing partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful.”
“I wish SHR the best of luck with their new sponsorship and driver. Thanks for the memories. Right now, my focus is on the remainder of the 2017 season and finishing the year strong. I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future.”
Patrick moved up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2013 with Stewart-Haas and in her five years with the team scored seven top-10 finishes, the 2013 Daytona 500 pole, and an average finish of 24.0.
In those five seasons, she has finished a career-high 24th in points twice (2015, 2016) and currently sits 28th in points.
Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner, Tony Stewart, also commented on Patrick’s departure from the team, noting his unwavering support for the Roscoe, Illinois native.
“I’ve always been a believer in Danica’s ability as a racecar driver and that continues to be the case,” said Stewart. “She’s one of the most fearless people I’ve ever met. She has never backed down from a challenge. In fact, she’s sought out new challenges throughout her career, and that’s what brought her to NASCAR and Stewart-Haas Racing.”
“Making the jump from INDYCAR to NASCAR is not easy, yet she had the courage to do so and put up better numbers than a lot of other drivers who have tried to make that same transition. I’m proud of how hard Danica has worked during her time at Stewart-Haas Racing, and she continues to work hard.”
“My support for Danica is unwavering. We’re going to end this season strong and make the most of these last 10 races.”