Danica Patrick - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Next year, NASCAR will see another high-profile retirement following Dale Earnhardt, Jr's final race, which took place yesterday. Danica Patrick announced she will retire from motorsport following two final races. She'll run NASCAR's season-opening Daytona 500 and one last race at the 2018 Indianapolis 500.
The Associated Press reported on her retirement announcement last Saturday and spoke to Patrick ahead of her official news conference. She told the publication she realized about one month ago her career had reached the end. But, she wanted to leave on a high note, and one last go at the Indy 500 will be a fitting retirement, although she did not reveal who she will drive for at the race.
For the Daytona 500, Patrick will not race for Stewart-Haas Racing, which replaced the female driver with Aric Almirola. It has not been revealed what team she will run for at Daytona.
Patrick found success in go-karts at the age of 10 and quickly became a rising star in the motorsport realm. She reached new heights in IndyCar through her GoDaddy sponsorship and moved to NASCAR after the 2011 IndyCar season. She remains the only woman to ever have led laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Despite the milestones, Patrick never clinched the wins many believed she could have. She won her only IndyCar race in 2008 and won the pole position for the 2013 Daytona 500, but never recorded a victory in NASCAR's top series.
A lack of sponsorship opportunities for next season ultimately led Patrick to retire after next year's Indy 500, but fellow drivers won't forget her so easily. Kyle Larson, in particular, proclaimed his respect and excitement for her future via his official Twitter account after she announced her retirement.
"She's done so much for Motorsports. I'm excited for her and her future adventures!!," he wrote.