Danica Patrick to Focus on Indy 500 and Daytona 500
Prior to the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Danica Patrick announced her plans to retire from a full-time in NASCAR Monster Energy Cup to concentrate her efforts on two major races in 2018: the NASCAR Daytona 500 and IRL Indianapolis 500. The very popular Stewart-Hass driver leaves NASCAR as the first woman to ever win a Cup Series pole (2013 Daytona 500), the first woman to ever lead that race and holds the most top ten finishes by a woman in the Cup Series with seven. The Beloit Wisconsin native is the most famous American open-wheel racing driver and the first woman to win an IRL race at the 2008 Indy Japan 300.
Like many of today's top drivers, Danica Patrick began her racing career in karting 25 years ago. After several years driving in feeder series in both Europe and the U.S., Patrick joined Rahal Letterman Racing to drive full-time in the IRL IndyCar Series for 2005. Patrick became the first female drive to lead the Indy 500 and won her first pole at Kansas Speedway. She was named Rookie of the Year for both the Indianapolis 500 and 2005 IRL IndyCar Championship. A model and advertising spokeswoman, she had her best Indy 500 finishing third behind Helio Castroneves and the late Dan Wheldon in 2009.
Often a fan favorite but sometimes booed for her controversial statements, Patrick was well known for her famous helmet-on walks down pit road to confront a fellow driver. Short of stature but full of desire, Patrick ran her first NASCAR Cup race at the 2012 Daytona 500. During her NASCAR career, she competed in 190 Cup and 61 Xfinity Series races during her 5-year career. Patrick refused Playboy magazine's offer for a photo shoot but did appear in a four-page spread in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. The longtime spokeswoman for Go Daddy, Patrick has worked the booth as a race commentator, appeared on multiple TV shows, published her autobiography Crossing the Line and is the celebrity spokesperson for DRIVE4COPD.
Don't count this pint-sized driver out of contention for any race. She's got plenty of moxie and her driving skills could put her in victory lane for both 500-mile races next season.
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