Danica Patrick plans to return to the Verizon IndyCar Series and race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May 2018, the final start in her barrier-breaking career as a race driver.
Patrick, from Roscoe, Illinois, made her name racing Indy cars, winning in 2008 at Twin Ring Motegi and becoming the first woman to win an Indy car race. Among her 115 Indy car starts, are seven career starts in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” from 2005-11, setting a number of milestones for female drivers.
Her best finish – third in 2009 – and start – fourth as a rookie in 2005 – both are records for female drivers in the “500.” She also has led 29 laps during her “500” career, including 19 in her electrifying debut in 2005. Both also are race records for a female driver.
“This will be my last season as a full-time driver,” Patrick said of 2017. “I’m not totally done. I’m going to do the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 next year, and I’m really excited about that. I think it’s going to be a great way to cap it off.”
Patrick, 35, intends to complete a “Danica Double” comprised of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway and then the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the last two starts in her career.
She has raced full time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing since 2013, including five consecutive starts in the Big Machine Brickyard 400. Patrick did not reveal during the press conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway the team with which she will make her final Indianapolis 500 start.
“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.
“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”