It seems more and more likely every day that Danica Patrick can simply walk away from motorsports and be a media personality away from it. But it also forced changes at Stewart-Haas, which has struggled with sponsorship for three of its four cars, including the No. 10 Ford driven by Patrick.
Patrick said she believes there are opportunities with NASCAR teams if she can land sponsorship. In some ways, she's handled the ups and downs of racing admirably. "NASCAR fans will miss her badly in time".
Perhaps more than any other driver, Patrick is more prepared for life after motorsports. She launched a clothing line in January and has a book coming out next year. She's 35, in a long-term relationship with Stenhouse and has acknowledged she'd like to get married and have children. Her eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 in 2013 is the best of any woman.
She doesn't really worry about anyone who says she is done as a NASCAR driver. "Or if I don't feel like that's something that will be possible, then I'm OK with that, too". Her statement today confirmed her reasons for her split from the Stewart-Haas Racing team, but there were no indications of any 2018 plans as of yet; perhaps signaling a potential end to, at least, her stock auto racing career.
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 vehicle when it's uncomfortable.
"I've always been a believer in Danica's ability as a racecar driver and that continues to be the case", Stewart wrote on his Facebook page.
Close friend Kyle Larson said Patrick has nothing left to prove in racing.
Patrick spent part of her Wednesday doing the business work of NASCAR, driving go-karts in downtown Chicago for Aspen Dental to encourage people to overcome emotional barriers to going to the dentist. For the first time in her career, she faces being released with no ride in sight. It's fun to get to see her away from the track.
But if she's competitive when she returns, watch out. Details of the agreement, including the driver who will be added to SHR's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2018, will be provided at a later date.
Winning the IndyCar race in Japan in 2008 and becoming the highest-finishing woman in Indianapolis 500 history with a third-place run in 2009, Patrick began her transition to stock cars in 2010.
She spent seven years in IndyCar before jumping to NASCAR. Patrick just isn't there.