Danica Patrick Emotionally Announces Last NASCAR Season

After eight seasons in NASCAR, Danica Patrick announced in an emotional press conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday that she will no longer race full-time in the sport.

The 35-year-old told reporters through tears that Sunday's Ford Ecoboost 400 will be her last race as a full-time driver.

But she's not finished racing just yet; the No. 10 Ford driver also announced that she'll run both the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 next season, although she has yet to make her plans official with a team.

"My sister told me I was supposed to get emotional. I said I wouldn't," she said through tears. "But I'm grateful for all the opportunities. I'm thankful for Dale [Earnhardt Jr.] and Kelley [Earnhardt Miller] and Bob Parsons from GoDaddy for getting me into NASCAR."

"I don't feel like I was necessarily pushed into this. I feel like I should be doing this. I feel like this is where my life should be headed, and sometimes we just get kind of nudged there," she continued. "Sometimes it's big nudges and sometimes it's little. But I definitely was faced with situations at the beginning of the year that I had never faced before. I've never had sponsor issues. But it made me think about things, and so I'm excited about the next phase, trust me."

Patrick went on to thank members of her team and her family, as well as boyfriend and fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

She said this isn't the first time she's considered doing the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 as one-off races, assuming she didn't secure a full-time job for the 2018 season. She said although "nothing's final yet" that she's "down the line" in figuring out what teams she will drive for.

Despite her seven seasons in the IndyCar Series before switching to NASCAR, Patrick added that she never thought she'd return to the series.


"I never thought I would do [the Indy 500 again] — I really didn't," she said. "I always thought in my head, 'Never,' but I never said never because I know better. And thank god, right? Because here I am."

Patrick took to Instagram to share her excitement for the one-off races, writing, "Well.... 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come."