Prolific Driver to Close Her Career with the 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500
By Michael Guzman, Contributing Writer
Homestead, FL – Stewart-Haas Racing driver Danica Patrick confirmed her retirement from full-time racing Friday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway, citing sponsor issues as the deciding factor in a decision that had been speculated since earlier this season.
Following an emotional announcement, the veteran Patrick stated her plans for 2018 are to run the Daytona 500 and likely close her career at the Indianapolis 500 in May.
Patrick has not named a team or sponsor, saying that there have been discussions but nothing is official at this time. Andretti Autosport, who Patrick drove for throughout her open-wheel career, rounded out their Indy 500 lineup with Stefan Wilson in early October.
Ed Carpenter Racing, a Chevrolet team in the IndyCar Series, and Chip Ganassi Racing, a Honda outfit, are competitive teams with possible availability as six months remain between the end of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and the 2018 Indianapolis 500.
Ganassi confirms he’s met with Danica. Says he loves her idea, “the business side still needs to work out.”
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) November 18, 2017
Patrick, who entered what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2012, has posted seven top-10 finishes and one pole (the 2013 Daytona 500) entering what may be her penultimate race in NASCAR’s top series this Sunday. She is a winner in what is now the Verizon IndyCar Series, but has not competed in the series since the end of the 2011 season.
“If it’s not going to get better I don’t want to do it because it’s not fun,” Patrick said of her decision to step aside from the sport. “Here I am. It’s not fun. So, my urgency to push, to keep doing everything, was just not really there. So if something that wasn’t really enticing didn’t come up I wasn’t going to push for something else.”
After a discussion with her agent, Patrick says closing her career at the Indianapolis 500 was an exciting decision that came from her heart. While Patrick steered clear of officially calling it quits, she acknowledged that she was prepared for the next phase of her life even if it likely comes at the close of her incredibly popular career.
“I never say never, but (this) is my plan,” Patrick acknowledged, continuing to come to terms that after nearly 200 NASCAR Cup Series races and 115 IndyCar starts, her enigmatic career is about to come to a close.
“After Indy that’s the end.”