Danica Patrick to retire from racing after 2018 Indy 500

Danica Patrick announced Friday she will retire from racing next season after running the Daytona 500 in February and the Indianapolis 500 in May.

“I am done after May,” Patrick told The Associated Press. “Everyone needs to put their mind there. My plan is to be at Indy, and then I’m done.”

Patrick ran the Indy 500 from 2005 through 2011, finishing as high as third in 2009. She was the first woman to lead laps in the storied race when she led 19 as a rookie.

“I know I always said I’d never go back to Indy, and I was always being honest,” she said. “Well, things change. I know now you can never say never. I’d been going through this in my head and kept asking myself, ‘How am I going to get the words out and say it’s over?’ And trust me, I lost my (stuff) a few times over that.

“But this seems right, and this seems good.”

Since Patrick announced in September that she would not be back with Stewart-Haas Racing, there has been some speculation as to what career move she will make next.

Patrick has not officially announced what her plans are after her current contract, but, according to USA Today, she has had conversations about joining NBC Sports.

NASCAR.com reported Friday afternoon that she would not be running a full-time NASCAR schedule in 2018.

“I have great opportunities, but I think the most important thing is answering, ‘What is it that I want to do?’” Patrick said in a statement earlier this week, adding. “I think it’s a matter of evaluating options, but really being honest about what makes the most sense, what’s going to feel good, what do I want to do, and then really kind of being the architect of my life.”

A new TV deal will not be unfamiliar territory for Patrick, who appeared in several commercials for Go Daddy in the early days of her driving career, and she also was a pit reporter in June for an Xfinity Series race that aired on Fox Sports 1.

Patrick’s contract with Stewart-Haas Racing will come to an end on Sunday after the season-ending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami, and Aric Almirola will be the new driver for the No. 10 Ford.

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