The 35-year-old Patrick has seven top-10s in 180 career starts. Any sponsor willing to commit to Patrick would have to recognize it would likely be a one-year venture, or two years at the most.
"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 through Facebook. She had seven Top-10 finishes in her career and is the only woman to take a pole position for a NASCAR Cup race (2013 Daytona 500).
The announcement by Patrick, one of NASCAR'S most high-profile drivers, came shortly after Smithfield Foods said it would leave Richard Petty Motorsports to become a primary sponsor at Stewart-Haas next year. "Thanks for the memories", Patrick continued.
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer.
If SHR were to bring in a new driver, it would have no shortage of options. "Our fantastic partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful".
"It is out there and it's something that's being worked on", Patrick said. From what she has said in the past, she would miss the competition and the challenge.
Perhaps Patrick could find the funding needed to run a handful of big races with brands that tie into her personal lifestyle endeavors. She said she wasn't dreading the appearance and was in a good place mentally. Patrick says she remains focused on the rest of the season. "I've never related to an athlete when they say, 'I'm just happy to be here.' Ever". "I'm a little bit more present and a little less anxious about the future or anxious about what happened in the past". But did she really go out on her own terms? "There's nothing good can come from letting things spiral".
Danica Patrick now sits a career-low 28th in the NASCAR standings.
"I know that she enjoys racing".
"I want to continue racing if I have an opportunity to do well", Patrick said August 16.
Earlier this season she told NASCAR.com: "I said this a year ago, it's not any fun to run 20th or 25th". And she won't miss the weekends when the vehicle rolls off the truck, is a beast to drive and doesn't get any better through Sunday. When she qualified on the second row for the 2008 Indy 500, four years into her IndyCar career, the 4.6 was better than it's been in the nine years since - including for the 100th running (3.9) and for Fernando Alonso-mania (3.4). She's the circuit's only female driver but has no wins or top-five finishes. But the question remains if she can pull enough partners together to fund a ˜$20 million Cup program.
SHR found it hard to get sponsors after GoDaddy ended its team sponsorship in 2015. But they ended a three-year deal after one season following the 2016 campaign.
"If you look at our stats of our first few years", Stenhouse said, "they didn't really look that much different for all the success I had in the Xfinity auto and winning races and championships, so it's just tough to make sure that you have the right people behind you - the right people on your team that believe in everything that you can do".
Patrick said she appreciated Stewart's support.