Homestead, Fla – One sports loss is another one’s gain. Danica Patrick held a very emotional press conference on Friday from the Homestead-Miami Speedway in which she announced her retirement from full-time racing. Patrick, fought tears the whole way through as she said this was a tough decision but one that it was time to make.
You could tell, that Patrick wasn’t quite ready to call it quits in NASCAR as she was as emotional as I’ve ever seen her. Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN) will be her 251st career NASCAR start, 190 of which coming in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Patrick, 35, won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500 and has seven career top 10 finishes. Also, in 61 career NASCAR XFINITY Series starts, Patrick brought home seven top 10 finishes as well, with a pole too. She’s also made one ARCA and one K&N Pro Series East start in her stock car career.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 17, 2017
But, she’s not completely walking away. Patrick just said that she was done “full-time.” See, Danica announced on Friday that she will run in the 2018 Daytona 500 in February. She also said that she will race in the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 too.
While it’s sad to see a female with such a polarizing impact walk away from the sport on a full-time basis, it’s also good to see her still get a chance to race and do so in two of the year’s biggest motorsports events in the world. On top of that, she can with either race too.
It’s no secret, Danica was at her best on restrictor plate tracks. So, it’s not out of the realm of reality that she would win the Daytona 500. Plus, it’s also not another secret that her best track was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when she raced in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Patrick, has made seven Indianapolis 500 starts during her career. Six of those seven starts she finished inside the top 10, including a career best effort of third in 2009. She was the 2005 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year with a fourth place finish and even leading some laps.
So, if Patrick was going to scale back, this is the perfect fit to do so.
It’s a huge win for the Indianapolis 500 and INDYCAR because they’re getting another huge named driver coming back. Fernando Alonso came over this past May and ran up front all month. Now, Danica mania is back too.