If she can find a competitive team, Danica Patrick will keep racing

Rachel Hardy
September 15, 2017

On Tuesday, renowned female race vehicle driver Danica Patrick announced via Facebook that she will no longer be competing with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) after her sixth season with the team. Smithfield Foods, which has sponsored the No. 43 auto for Richard Petty Motorsports in the past, said Tuesday that it would be joining SHR in 2018.

"It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons", Patrick wrote.

Patrick - who has seven Top-10 finishes in 180 career starts in NASCAR - had been under contract with Stewart's team through 2018.

Patrick was initially backed by Internet domain name service GoDaddy from 2007 with Andretti Autosport in the Verizon IndyCar series until 2015 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Stewart-Haas Racing. "I'm just kind of letting it organically flow". And she won't miss the weekends when the auto rolls off the truck, is a beast to drive and doesn't get any better through Sunday.

When told of the comment, her then-crew chief, Tony Gibson, understood what she was saying but noted that the key to being fast is to be able to drive the vehicle when it's uncomfortable. However, she also overcame a steep mountain just to get there and persevered for over five years in a sport that some felt she had no business being in.

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Patrick also has increased her activities off the track, including developing a clothing line, Warrior. "In NASCAR, you're better off with a group of guys or girls that are working day and night and diligently for you".

She's the only woman to win a top-flight NASCAR pole position, and while some in NASCAR have grumbled that the attention she garnered on the circuit outweighed her achievements at least one fellow-driver recognised her on Tuesday as a ground-breaker.

"We've got a good opportunity here still", Kenseth said. One of NASCAR's venerable organizations, RPM has struggled to remain consistently competitive and a lack of funding prompted the team to downsize from two cars to one this season.

She has set the bar for women drivers, and frankly, there aren't many in the NASCAR pipeline who appear ready for Cup in the next three years. Anything less would be a disservice to her time and resources. But it's ultimately up to a racing team that might want her and a sponsor that wants to support her.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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