Danica Patrick To Retire After Running Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Just ahead of NASCAR's final race of the 2017 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Danica Patrick has announced she will be pulling the curtain on her full-time career next season.
Patrick tells the Associated Press she plans to run the Daytona 500 at the beginning of the 2018 NASCAR season, and then will run the Indianapolis 500 one final time.
She told her agent, and she’s been working on putting together “The Danica Double” over the last several weeks.
“Nothing that was being presented excited me, then about three weeks ago, I just blurted out, ’What about Indy? Let’s end it with the Indy 500,’” she said. “This ignites something in me. But I am done after May. Everyone needs to put their mind there. My plan is to be at Indy, and then I’m done.”
No word on which racing team will provide Patrick with a ride for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 but the rumor mill has it that Chip Ganassi is the likely team. It's also not clear who she will be racing for at the Daytona 500, with Stewart-Haas Racing electing not to renew her contract in NASCAR.
The decision is surprising to say the least since Patrick has had choice words when talking about a possible return to Indianapolis in the past.
“I know I always said I’d never go back to Indy, and I was always being honest,” she said. “Well, things change. I know now you can never say never. I’d been going through this in my head and kept asking myself, ‘How am I going to get the words out and say it’s over?’ And trust me, I lost my (stuff) a few times over that.
“But this seems right, and this seems good.”
As a rookie in the IndyCar ranks in 2005, Patrick became the first woman ever to lead a lap at the Indianapolis 500. Her highest finish was third in 2009. She switched to NASCAR in 2012 and a year later secured the pole position in the Daytona 500, the first woman ever to do so.
(PHOTO: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)