Danica Patrick, the trailblazing driver who had a number of “firsts” but never found sustained success in the NASCAR Cup series, has decided to leave Stewart-Haas Racing:
She made the announcement on her Facebook page:
“It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons. 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 was the first and only woman’s to earn a victory in an IndyCar series race (the Japan 300); the first woman to win the pole at the Daytona 500 (2013) and her third-place finish in the 2009 Indy 500 was the highest ever for a woman.
In 2005, she was named the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and the IndyCar rookie of the Year, and her popularity exploded. She was the series most popular driver for six-straight years (2005-2010) and that popularity carried over to NASCAR, where she was the NASCAR Nationwide Series most popular driver in 2012.
On the track, she had seven top 10 finishes in the XFfinity series and seven top-10s in the Cup series
Like many drivers, she suffered sponsorship issues and she doesn’t have a sponsor for the No. 10 Ford Fusion. She’s also acknowledged that, without a sponsor, she wouldn’t race next year.
Now, she’s free to go in another direction, whether that be looking for another ride or going into business. Her widely followed Instagram and Twitter accounts are filled with tales of yoga, her diet, and her new clothing line — and she has a massive following. Not only that, she’s just been featured in Time Magazine’s special features, Firsts, which is looking at woman who have changed the world.
She has certainly done that. And now, at just 35-years-old, she can go off and do whatever she wants.