Danica Patrick Won't Return to Stewart-Haas Racing; NASCAR Future in Doubt

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2017

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 11:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Code 3 Associates Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 11, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Danica Patrick announced on Facebook Tuesday that she would not be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Tuesday that it was adding a new racer to its lineup and adding Smithfield as a sponsor, according to Bob Pockrass of ESPN.com.

As Pockrass noted, Patrick "has driven for Stewart-Haas Racing throughout her entire NASCAR career, and while her contract originally ran through 2018, the team did not have an anchor sponsor for her for next year when Nature's Bakery ended its three-year deal after one season following the 2016 season."

She now joins her teammate, Kurt Busch, and Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing as well-known drivers without rides locked down for the 2018 season, according to Michelle R. Martinelli of For The Win.

Patrick is in 28th place in the standings this season, a disappointing campaign for her. At 35, it's possible she will simply decide to call it quits after this season. She hinted at as much in August.

"I want to continue racing if I have an opportunity to do well," she said, per Pockrass. "I have no interest, as I've said for years now, to run 20-25th. That's not fun. If I don't feel like I can have the opportunity to move on from there and have a better opportunity, then honestly, I don't care [about racing] just because it's not fun. I don't drive because I love the thrill of getting sideways."

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