Daytona 500 driver Danica Patrick will not return to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing next year. After competing for the company for the past six seasons, Patrick’s arrangement with them will come to an end due to changes in sponsorship agreement.
Thus far, Patrick has not issued any statements about her future racing plans. She may continue with NASCAR racing, or perhaps shift gears back to the Verizon IndyCar Series, where she drove for seven years before joining up with Stewart-Haas – or maybe she’ll try a new direction entirely.
This season hasn’t gone very well for Patrick. She’s 28th in points, and has only had one top-ten finish. This is in stark contrast to her best season, in 2014, when she had three top-ten finishes. She’s also one of very few drivers ever to lead laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500.
Despite her mediocre performance in 2017, Patrick’s popularity remains solid. According to teammate Kevin Harvick, Patrick is likely responsible for bringing many people who were not previously interested in racing into the fold.
“The impact and the footprint that she has brought to our sport is big,” he said. ““I hope that Danica gets a sponsor because she’s an important part of our sport.”
Patrick seems optimistic going forward, even without a clear direction so far.
“I wish SHR the best of luck with their new sponsorship and driver,” she said. “Thanks for the memories. Right now, my focus is on the remainder of the 2017 season and finishing the year strong. I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future.”