Danica Patrick Announces That She Will Step Away From Full-Time NASCAR Racingby Camille Jones November 17, 2017 0 comments
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – In an emotional press conference on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Danica Patrick announced that 2017 would be her final season as a full-time driver.
Patrick has been competing full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since the 2013 season. The Illinois native has amassed seven top-10 finishes and has helped pave the way for female drivers in the sport throughout her career.
Before becoming emotional in her press conference, Patrick said, “This will be my last season as a full-time driver.”
Patrick added, “But I am grateful for all of the opportunities. I’m thankful for Dale and Kelley (Earnhardt), and Bob Parsons from GoDaddy for getting me into NASCAR. Thank you to Tony (Stewart) and Gene (Haas).”
She also thanked her mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and boyfriend/fellow driver, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. before also thanking her team of managers.
“I don’t feel like I was necessarily pushed into this,” Patrick said. “I feel like I should be doing this. I feel like this is where my life should be headed. Sometimes we just get kind of nudged there. Sometimes it’s big nudges and sometimes it’s little.”
Patrick added, “I definitely was faced with situations at the beginning of the year that I had never faced before. I had never had sponsor issues. It made me think about things, so I’m excited about the next phase, trust me.”
Patrick has plans to compete in the 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500. Her teams for the two events have yet to be announced.
The 35-year-old lone female in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series began her full-time racing career at the national level in the IndyCar Series, where she raced from 2005 through the 2011 season.
Patrick began a part-time schedule in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2010, continuing through 2011, before going full-time in the series in 2012.
She then ran a part-time schedule in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2012, before going full-time in 2013.
Patrick has led the way in success for female drivers in both series. She made 189 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, 61 starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and 115 starts in the IndyCar Series.
She earned one victory in the IndyCar Series in 2008, becoming the first female to win an IndyCar race. Her highest finish in the points standings came in 2009, when she finished fifth.
In seven starts in the Indy 500, Patrick has six top-10 finishes. She finished third in 2009 and fourth in her rookie season in 2005. She will give it one more shot in 2018.
Patrick sat on the pole in the 2013 Daytona 500. She finished eighth in that event, her highest finish in the prestigious race.
Outside of racing, Patrick has developed an internationally-known brand. From a fitness and diet book, to athleisure clothing and her own wine, she has indirectly prepared for retirement over the past several years.
Will Patrick ever step back into another race car following the 2018 Indy 500? As of now, the answer is no.
However, Patrick adds, to “never say never.”
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com