Patrick's comments on her Facebook page came shortly after grocer Smithfield Foods said it would become a primary sponsor at Stewart-Haas 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", wrote Patrick. And her seven top-10 finishes is also a standard for women. Since she joined Stewart-Haas Racing full-time in 2013, the team has won 21 races and a Cup championship with Kevin Harvick in 2014. "I've never related to an athlete when they say, 'I'm just happy to be here.' Ever". And she won't miss the weekends when the vehicle rolls off the truck, is a beast to drive and doesn't get any better through Sunday.
Depending on how you want to look at Danica Patrick's NASCAR legacy, you could either consider her a failure or a success. Her high-point was earning a Daytona 500 pole. While not likely racing next year, she likely will remain a familiar face at the race track as boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. competes for Roush Fenway Racing.
Patrick had an appearance Wednesday for Aspen Dental in Chicago and told ESPN.com that she's in a good place mentally. But the question remains if she can pull enough partners together to fund a ˜$20 million Cup program.
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Arguing Patrick had success on the track with those numbers would be a stretch. Soon to be 26, Julia Landauer (a Stanford grad) might be too old to get a good shot after her good-but-not-great performances on the NASCAR regional level. She was never competitive in her five seasons as a Cup driver, including this one. When she met with reporters last month and was asked about a potential IndyCar and NASCAR mixed schedule for 2018, Patrick said she had not heard of any talk of that type of plan. She's not the worst in the series by any means, but one can't help but wonder what a Kenseth or Kahne or even an Aric Alimorola might accomplish in the same ride.
If Patrick is done, she will leave a conflicted legacy in the sport.
IndyCar career when she chose to make the jump to NASCAR's top level in 2011.
"It's nice to hear, but I've also driven for him for a long time", Patrick said. She said Wednesday that she found out earlier this summer that SHR would not field a auto for her in 2018 if it could not find sponsorship.