In a sometimes tearful press conference, Danica Patrick on Friday announced that she will be retiring from racing in 2018. But, in what could be an exciting finale, Patrick revealed that she will end with a double-header of sorts. After what she hopes will be two successful qualifying attempts, she will first race at the Daytona 500 and then finish her racing career with the Indy 500.
Danica started this day with a reflective Twitter post where she looked back on her life and told people, "don't be sad, because I choose not to be."
Danica Patrick has had an interesting career and, while it may be changing, it will certainly not be over. She has demonstrated herself to be committed to top-notch performance and, while she might not be racing, that drive to excellence will surely still be there. But, to take a quick look back, here are three things you need to know as Danica gets ready for her next career pivot.
Danica May Be Going To Sports Broadcasting
According to a story in USA Today, representatives for both NBC and Patrick have discussed "Patrick joining the network in some role." However, that may be something for the more distant future. According to that same USA Today piece, "Patrick said that she had no immediate plans for a broadcast career." For now, the focus is on the last two big races.
She Was The Highest Finishing Female Ever At Both Daytona And Indy
In 2005, Danica Patrick finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500. She "rocketed into the lead with 10 laps left," according to a New York Times article, but was "forced to conserve fuel because of a gamble by her team that she could make it to the end without an additional pit stop." This caused her to be "passed with six laps left." Despite the loss, Patrick was still the highest female finisher ever with her fourth-place finish.
Then, in 2013, Danica again made history. This time, she "lead a lap in the Daytona 500," finishing eighth overall. And, again, this was the highest female finish ever. Even though she didn't win, Danica's performance could be called amazing.
She Was Accused Of Being Too Light To Race
Danica is a small person. She is five-foot, two-inches tall and reportedly weighs in at about 100 pounds. From a 2013 ESPN.com article, a weight issue came up for Danica in the 2005 Indianapolis 500. One driver, Robby Gordon, "said Patrick had an unfair advantage for the Indianapolis 500 and [Gordon] said he would not compete in the event unless the field was equalized." In the end, Robby Gordon did not race in the Indianapolis 500 that year.
Danica Patrick has had what she herself has described as "amazing" life. She has been the most successful female race car driver ever. Besides that, she is still young. At age 35, she could still have many more amazing moments. And, with two more big races potentially ahead of her, she could still end her racing on a high. But, even without a win, it seems like Danica Patrick is excited about what her future holds.
[Featured Image by Terry Renna/AP Images]