INDIANAPOLIS – We’re a month away from the 60th Running of the Daytona 500. We’re a little over four months away from the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. Those are two of the most iconic races in the world and two that Danica Patrick is trying to end her racing career in.
Patrick, 35, announced back in November that she would not longer search for a full time ride in any series for 2018. Without much open, it was best she moved on with her professional career and turn the racing page behind.
She thought it would be fitting for her to go out in two of the biggest races in the world. The only problem was that she made the announcement at Homestead without having a sponsorship deal or ride in place.
As we sit here 31 days from the Daytona 500, she still doesn’t have a ride. But, she now has a big sponsor as Patrick revealed on the FOX Business Channel on Thursday morning that her and Go Daddy will reunite for both races.
Now, what does that do for her chances in finding a ride?
Honestly, it goes a long way for a seat at Indy, but for Daytona, it’s not going to land her a top ride unfortunately.
Chip Ganassi Racing was the favorite, but in recent weeks, they have said multiple times that talks have stalled and there’s no longer a potential deal in place. While having a sponsor like Go Daddy now, those talks could resume, but could Ganassi realistically put a team together in less than a month? Ganassi, is a smart businessman and isn’t going to put a car on the race track that can’t win.
So, what’s left?
The No. 27 Chevrolet with Richard Childress Racing still technically has a charter and doesn’t have a driver. They could lease that charter out and work a deal with whoever they lease it out to and put Danica in the car for Daytona. That would put her in great equipment as RCR has always been great on plate tracks.
There’s Tri-Star, Front Row Motorsports or smaller teams like that which a sponsor like Danica can bring can help them tremendously. But, their rides aren’t going to be chartered unless she replaces Cole Whitt (Tri-Star) or David Ragan or Michael McDowell (FRM) for the ‘500 only. If she doesn’t, they could bring out an extra car, but she would have to race her way in during the Duels.
That’s really her only options in NASCAR.
But, what about Indy?
Here’s who we know that she won’t be driving for. Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing, Andretti Autosport, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske have all said they don’t have room for her now. But, don’t sleep on Ed Carpenter Racing or Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Each could expand a car in their arsenals and her having a sponsor like Go Daddy will open up doors.
Harding Racing wants to expand to a second car, heck even Juncos Racing could too.
If Danica is going to run at Indy, her best options are ECR, DRR, Harding or Juncos.