The Clock Strikes Twelve For Danica Patrick

Taylor Byrd
September 15, 2017

Whether or not Patrick has more chances to add to her legacy remains to be seen now that she has announced she will not return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018. Smithfield Foods, which has sponsored the No. 43 vehicle for Richard Petty Motorsports in the past, said Tuesday that it would be joining SHR in 2018. The 35-year-old owns seven top-10 finishes in 180 career starts. She has driven for Stewart-Haas Racing throughout her entire NASCAR career, and while her contract originally ran through 2018, the team did not have an anchor sponsor for her for next year. "I've never related to an athlete when they say, 'I'm just happy to be here.' Ever". "I don't drive because I love the thrill of getting sideways". Patrick told USA TODAY Sports last month that she was at peace about her future in NASCAR, however it turned out.

When told of the comment, her then-crew chief, Tony Gibson, understood what she was saying but noted that the key to being fast is to be able to drive the auto when it's uncomfortable. She also finished third in the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

She'd likely have to be OK with taking a pretty steep pay cut, and she'd have to find a team where she believes she could be competitive. Her eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 in 2013 is the best of any woman. It is possible that Patrick doesn't return to the sport as a driver after this season ends.

"It is out there and it's something that's being worked on", Patrick said. "I just want to do what feels right and what will give me the best chance - if I'm racing, will give me the best chance to perform and get in the winner's circle". She is still the only woman to be on the pole for any of the 2,524 Cup races. In 2012 she made the switch from IndyCar to NASCAR full-time.

IndyCar career when she decided to make the jump to NASCAR's top level in 2011.

Patrick said she appreciated Stewart's support.

"I want to continue racing if I have an opportunity to do well", Patrick said August 16. When she qualified on the second row for the 2008 Indy 500, four years into her IndyCar career, the 4.6 was better than it's been in the nine years since - including for the 100th running (3.9) and for Fernando Alonso-mania (3.4). Former champion and perennial contender Matt Kenseth is looking for a ride, and you know sponsorship dollars are a part of it.

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