Danica Patrick gets emotional while announcing she's retiring from NASCAR in 2018

Rachel Hardy
November 18, 2017

She became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 in 2005, and she was the sport's Rookie of the Year that same season.

"I'm grateful for all of the opportunities", an emotional Patrick said at a media conference. Sometimes it's big nudges and sometimes it's little.

Her 2018 plans are rather interesting, though, with Patrick announcing that she'll compete in both the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 before retiring from racing all together.

"I never say never", Patrick said.

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I know I always said I'd never go back to Indy, and I was always being honest.

Nothing that was being presented excited me, then about three weeks ago, I just blurted out, "What about Indy?"

Graham Rahal, whose father Bobby ran Patrick in the Atlantic championship and the first two years of her IndyCar career, said recently that she would be welcome back at the Brickyard in an open-wheel vehicle. My plan is to be at Indy, and then I'm done. She has said on numerous occasions that she was done with Indy auto racing in any capacity. In 2015 and 2016, she finished the Cup Series season in 24th place, her best overall season finish. However, she couldn't shake the idea of ending it back at one of the races that catapulted her to fame: the Indianapolis 500.

While she won't have a full-time ride in the Cup Series next season, Patrick will still be driving in the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 18th, 2018, although she did not say the team for which she would be driving. Through 189 races she has seven top 10 finishes.

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