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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Danica Patrick Leaving Stewart-Haas Racing

Danica Patrick will no longer be competing under the Stewart-Haas Racing banner following the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

The 35-year-old driver took to Facebook Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 12) to announce the news of her departure from the only full-time team she has driven for in NASCAR’s premier division.

“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 in a Facebook statement. “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.”

Early Tuesday morning, Smithfield Foods made it official that the longtime Richard Petty Motorsports sponsor would swap teams and work with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018. However, SHR’s comment on the announcement later hinted that there will be a new driver within the four-car team next year.

Patrick has 180 Cup Series starts on her resume, with at least 10 more coming with SHR as the 2017 season concludes. She has seven career top 10s, with a best finish of sixth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2014.

This season, though has been a struggle from the start. Primary backer Nature’s Bakery sued Stewart-Haas Racing over their sponsorship deal; in the end, the agreement was cut significantly. Patrick then suffered through a half-dozen wrecks, most of which were not of their making en route to a disappointing 28th in the season standings.

“I wish SHR the best of luck with their new sponsorship and driver,” Patrick said. “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, along with teammate Kurt Busch, entered the year with contracts expiring at the end of the season. As of now, Busch is reportedly in the midst of negotiating a new contract with SHR, but nothing has been made official.

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About Joseph Wolkin

Joseph started with Fronstretch in Aug. 2014 and worked his way up to become an editor in less than a year. A native of Whitestone, New York, Joseph writes for NASCAR Pole Position magazine as a weekly contributor, along with being a former intern at Newsday and the Times Beacon Record Newspapers, each on Long Island. With a focus on NASCAR, he runs our social media pages and writes the NASCAR Mailbox column, along with other features for the site.

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13 comments

  1. Despite what she says, I don’t believe she’s going to lose any sleep after losing the ride she was using to get other endorsement income. She rode the woman in NA$CAR shtick for as long as she could until it stopped working. Now she can concentrate on what she really wants to do and it’s not ride around in an oversized bumper car. What happens to Ricky now?

  2. Time has probably finally ran out for her. The money is drying up. She was always a gamble that could have paid off big in sponsorship dollars had she progressed and become a consistently competitive driver. She’s been fortunate to stay in the division for as long as she has. I was thinking about what a kick in the butt it would be for Kenseth to be without a ride in’18 and Danica to be running every weekend.

  3. #timetogetpregnant

    Or…..
    #timetodrivethetrucks

  4. Well now she will have EVEN more time for more pay attention to me pics on social media. She never did seem to care about bettering herself or investing time in making herself better at the job she was paid to do, and paid very well. For all her exposure and attention, her being a “woman” was the only criteria and expectation many had for her, and it seems to a degree she had for herself. That thinking put women back and actually did them a disservice, she was no role model whatsoever! This woman thinks so and many I know as well. Glad she is leaving.

  5. Turn out the lights the party’s over. I’m sorry Danica was never a good racer and in short, she sucked.

  6. No one earns a Daytona 500 pole. Just a matter of being the biggest story line coming out of the offseason.

    Maybe to coincide with this news, NASCAR should retire the free pass and wave around.

  7. “New sponsorship arrangements”, I assume she means Smithfield. So that will be one of the 2 they need. Busch may take a paycut but it won’t be enough to matter unless they can find a sponsor. Oh well.

    While the haters aka traditionalists, will be ecstatic at her leaving it is a loss for the sport. She did bring new fans to the sport, whether they stay will remain to be seen. And this is the death knell for the diversity program, such as it was.

    Drivers come and go but overall the retreat goes on as the sport cannibalizes itself.

  8. Wow, I really thought she was on the cusp of becoming a contender. I can’t believe they are ending this without giving her a fair chance. That’s it, I’m done with NASCAR. The only thing that held her back was bad luck, her crew chief, getting the left-overs at SHR, the media being against her, the sun always being in her eyes, and LOL the fact that she just plain sucked. It’s hard to feel sorry for her because she wasn’t willing to admit she sucked. With all the cup drivers running Xfinity races that are already successful, it always irked me that she was unwilling to run some races in that series to show she really wanted to get better and not be satisfied with sucking. Her arrogance was her biggest problem. The fact that she carried herself like a star (and was treated like a star by the media) even though she sucked.
    I don’t see anyone offering her a ride unless she has the sponsorship lined up, someone like Childress who is losing Menards dollars might be willing to take the money. That would be a fair trade too. Did I mention she sucked.

    • exactly!

      bye bye princess sparkle pony!

      she got the ride cause she brought go-daddy with her. when they changed their marketing image, she was done. then the problems with the sponsor this year, the writing was on the wall.

  9. I’m 2500 miles away and I can hear DW weeping from here.

  10. “Patrick has 180 Cup Series starts on her resume, with at least 10 more coming with SHR as the 2017 season concludes.”

    Perhaps replacing her for one or more of those ten races with Cole Custer to give him a little Cup experience could work out.

    Or possibly take one of the journeymen drivers (Brian Vickers comes to mind) and let them show what can be accomplished in the #10 car through the end of the season. Patrick’s fans having been crying for years that she’s not getting as good equipment as her teammates (which, of course, is just sour grapes). Would be fun to see what happens.

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