On the Friday before NASCAR’s last race of the 2017 cup season, the top series’ first full-time female driver announced she’d be retiring.
Danica Patrick, who had been a part of Stewart-Haas Racing for the past 6 years, announced that her final race in the sport will be 2018’s Daytona 500.
She also revealed that she’d be running the Indy 500 next year for the first time since 2011, and it will serve as the final start of her racing career.
“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.’ This ignites something in me,” Patrick said. “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.”
Prior to her final race at Homestead Miami Speedway, Tony Stewart announced that Aric Almirola would be replacing Patrick in the team’s No. 10 car next season.
An emotional Danica Patrick announces this will be her final season as a full-time driver. pic.twitter.com/2prJKUycFc
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) November 17, 2017
Though Patrick never won in Nascar’s top Monster Energy Cup Series, she will go down in history as a trailblazer, not only in racing, but in all of professional sports. She’s the only woman to have driven for multiple full-time seasons in NASCAR’s top series, and she was also the first female to win a Cup Series pole award.
For some, Danica Patrick’s five-year full-time career was a bit lackluster. In her 190 starts, she was only able to finish in the top-10 seven times, and was never able to secure a win.
The 35-year-old driver was quite emotional in her announcement, but having not seen the results after transitioning from her racing days in IndyCar where she began her professional career, she decided this was the year to call it quits.
It still remains uncertain as to what Danica’s professional career will hold in the future, but some believe she may seek to become a part-owner, or move into a role that many athletes pursue, which is a position in television broadcasting. Although we don’t know yet, we can be sure to see Patrick in America’s two biggest racing events of the year in 2018, and that will be something to look forward to.