KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Danica Patrick confirmed Tuesday afternoon that she will not return to Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, marking the end of a five-year relationship between driver and team.
Patrick has collected one pole (2013 Daytona 500) and seven top-10 finishes with SHR to-date, leading 64 career laps at the premier series level.
She made her revelation in the wake of Smithfield Foods’ announcement that they are shifting their sponsorship from Richard Petty Motorsports to SHR for next season.
Stewart Haas officials additionally announced that a new driver would be joining the team’s roster for the upcoming year as part of the sponsorship deal.
“It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons,” Patrick said Tuesday in a statement posted to her personal Facebook page. “Together we earned a Daytona 500 pole, seven top-10 finishes and we also had some exciting racing along the way. My time driving for them, however, has come to an end due to a new sponsorship arrangement in 2018.”
“Sponsorship plays a vital role in our sport, and I have been very fortunate over the course of my career, but this year threw us for a curve. Our amazing partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful. I wish SHR the best of luck with their new sponsorship and driver. 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.”
Patrick started her professional racing career in Indy cars in 2005, scoring her lone Verizon IndyCar Series win with Andretti Autosport at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi during the 2008 season. Her career-best points finish of fifth came the following year in 2009, the same year she established the current record for highest finish by a female driver at the Indianapolis 500 with a third-place effort.
After a seven-year Indy car career, Patrick moved on to NASCAR competition with a drive for JR Motorsports during the 2012 NASCAR XFINITY Series season, before jumping up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2013 with Stewart-Haas and scoring the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500.
In 180 total NASCAR Cup Series starts to-date, Patrick has a career-best finish of sixth, which came at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2014.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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