DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Danica Patrick, driver of the #30 Florida Lottery Chevrolet, talks to Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

This driver said it "almost felt like I died" after a recent major announcement


Danica Patrick won't be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing next season, and there's a good chance she won't be driving anywhere full-time in the Cup Series next season.

Patrick told NBC Sports Network's Dave Burns that she was surprised at the response after she made the announcement.

Related: Analyst slams Danica Patrick in the most condescending way possible

"I've obviously had the indication for a while about what the situation would be," Patrick said. "I think what I felt the most is that there was an overwhelming amount of positivity and nice things said, but it almost felt like I died! I died, or it was like a for sure goodbye.

"You know, that's just not necessarily the case. Yes, it might be over, but it might not be as well. As I've said for the last year or two, I'm not out here to fill the field. I'm out here to win, to be competitive and have fun. Running 20th to 25th is not fun. So if I feel I don't have the chance to be in better position than that, then I'm OK with it."

Patrick has seven top-10 finishes during her five-year career as a full-time driver, but she has also failed to qualify for the postseason in any season.

It's possible another team could sign her to a short-term deal, but unlikely considering there are other playoff-caliber drivers who will be free agents after the 2017 season.

(h/t NBC Sports)