Danica Patrick to end racing career at next year's Indy 500

Getty Images

Getty Images

Her best finish came in 2014 at Atlanta when she finished sixth. Patrick does not have a NASCAR contract for next season.

"I never say never", Patrick said. "I'm excited about the next phase, trust me".

Michael Andretti told Motorsport.com that Patrick would not be returning to his team, describing her announcement today as "a big surprise".

Patrick didn't reveal which teams she would drive for in 2018 but "nothing's final yet". In her first Indy 500 appearance in 2005, she posted her best qualifying performance of fourth.

This is a developing story and will be updated. Chip Ganassi Racing is said to be the top candidate for Indy, which raises the obvious question of whether Ganassi would field a third vehicle for her at Daytona as well, making her a one-off teammate to Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.

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She plans to race in both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 next season. And sometimes we just get kind of nudged there. "I mean, it's twice the field of Indy cars". She can't go back to Stewart-Haas Racing, her soon-to-be-ex-team, since that organization will already be fielding four cars at the 2018 Daytona 500. "I think it's gonna be a great way to cap (my racing career) off".

Patrick's fame was launched in IndyCar, and her relationship with former sponsor GoDaddy made her one of the most recognizable female athletes anywhere, from Super Bowl commercials to race days in the green-and-black firesuit.

Patrick established herself as an elite driver and fierce competitor in IndyCar, blazing a path to the winner's circle when she took the checkered flag at a race in Japan in 2008. "I had never had sponsor issues".

"But it made me think about things". I feel like there's a lot out of your control as a driver, and that's frustrating.

"I tried every approach I could to figure it out how to make the vehicle go fast". You see me as really (expletive) tough. "I don't care if your remember me as a girl".

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