Danica Patrick intends to go out on a high note with two marquee events in 2018. On Friday, she announced her plans to race the 2018 Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 before calling it a career.
Patrick, who currently drives the #10 car at Stewart-Haas Racing, lost her ride for the 2018 season. As a result, the 2013 Daytona 500 pole winner was left without a seat in NASCAR, and eventually revealed 2017 will be her last as a full-time driver.
“Following Sunday’s race in Homestead, Danica plans to step away from full-time competition,” a team statement said. “While Danica may not be competing on a weekly basis next year, we are thrilled to share with you that she will be doing the ‘Danica Double’ and will be a part of the 60th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in February and the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.”
“It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since Danica last competed in the Indy 500, and we can’t wait to see the excitement that will surround her return to ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing!'”
From 2005 to 2011, the Roscoe, Illinois native competed in the IndyCar Series for teams like Rahal Letterman and Andretti Autosport. In her rookie year, she attracted significant attention when she led 19 laps at the Indy 500, becoming the first woman to do so in the legendary event. Three years later, she won at Twin Ring Motegi to become the first female to win an IndyCar race. In 115 career IndyCar starts, she has seven podium finishes.
Patrick made sporadic starts in NASCAR’s Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series in 2010 and 2011 before committing to a full schedule in 2012 with JR Motorsports. She finished 10th in points in addition to racing part-time in the Cup Series with Tommy Baldwin/Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick moved up to Cup full-time in 2013. In 189 career Cup races, she has seven top-ten finishes and a best run of 6th at Atlanta in 2014. In 2017, she is currently 27th in points.
For the 2018 season, Aric Almirola will take over the #10. Speculation about Patrick’s future grew as rides continued to be filled, with such rumors settled with Friday’s press conference.
After the announcement, Patrick posted on Instagram: “Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼”
“Really really proud of everything she has accomplished and look forward to the next chapters together,” boyfriend and fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tweeted. “She’s not done accomplishing her goals, she has many of those left and 2 huge races left.”
Teams for the Daytona and Indy 500s have not been revealed. SHR cannot field a fifth car for Patrick at Daytona due to NASCAR’s charter rules prohibiting a fifth part-time car.
Running her final race at Indianapolis will be a fitting bookend for a career that started in IndyCar, though Patrick won’t be the first driver to run the Daytona and Indy 500s in one year. Many drivers who have attempted the Indy/Coca-Cola 600 “Double Duty”, including SHR teammate Kurt Busch and team owner Tony Stewart, have run both races in the same calendar year.
The 60th Daytona 500 will take place on February 18, 2018, while the 102nd Indianapolis 500 will be held on May 27.
Featured image from Stewart-Haas Racing