Unable to fight back tears during an impromptu press conference, Danica Patrick announced on Friday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway that this weekend would conclude her final full-time season as a racing driver.
„I don’t feel like I was necessarily pushed into this,“ Patrick said after regaining her composure. „I feel like I should be doing this. I feel like this is where my life should be headed,” Patrick said. “Sometimes we just get kind of nudged there. Sometimes it is big nudges, and sometimes it’s little.
„I definitely was faced with situations at the beginning of the year that I’ve never faced before. I’ve never had sponsor issues. It made me think about things. I’m excited about the next phase, trust me.“
However, this weekend will not be the end of her career, and she is set to compete in two races next season — the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500.
„I never say never, but that is my plan. After Indy, that’s the end,“ she said.
The 35-year-old says she’s „down the line“ with a couple of teams and sponsors, but she doesn’t have anything confirmed. She was actually surprised she even wanted to return to the seat of an Indy car. She has said on numerous occasions that she was done with Indy car racing in any capacity.
„I never thought I would do it,“ she said. „I always thought in my head never, but I never said never. We ran through so many different ideas. Different teams, different scenarios, just do these races, just do this race.
“He (agent Alan Zucker) called, and he said, ‚What about finishing up at Daytona?‘ and I don’t know where it came from, but out of my mouth came, ‚What about Indy?‘ I don’t even know why I said it necessarily, but it was really the first idea that got me really excited.“
Patrick revealed earlier this season that she would not be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing next season due to a lack of sponsorship. In 189 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Patrick has accumulated seven top-10s and one pole in the 2013 Daytona 500.
Patrick has one IndyCar Series victory at Twin Ring Motegi back in 2008. She has six other podiums and a fifth-place championship finish back in 2009.