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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

Danica Patrick Leaving Stewart-Haas Racing

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Last month, Danica Patrick told me she didn’t have a driving deal in place for 2018. Tuesday she made it official, with a Facebook post confirming that she won’t be back with Stewart-Haas Racing next year.

“It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons,” said Patrick on her Facebook page. “Together we earned a Daytona 500 pole, seven top-10 finishes and we also had some exciting racing along the way. My time driving for them, however, has come to an end due to a new sponsorship arrangement in 2018. Sponsorship plays a vital role in our sport, and I have been very fortunate over the course of my career, but this year threw us for a curve. Our amazing partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful.

“I wish SHR the best of luck with their new sponsorship and driver,” Patrick wrote. “Thanks for the memories. Right now, my focus is on the remainder of the 2017 season and finishing the year strong. I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future.”

When we spoke at SHR in mid-August, Patrick told me her plans for next season were up in the air. “At this point in time, my agents are still working on things,” Patrick said. “Working with sponsors and working with teams, trying to figure out what the next step is.”

Earlier today, SHR announced that it had signed longtime Richard Petty Motorsports sponsor Smithfield Foods for 2018. Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer remain under contract with SHR, but current team driver Kurt Busch is a free agent.

For her career in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Patrick has a Daytona 500 pole, no victories or top fives, and seven top 10s in 180 starts. Her career-best Cup finish was sixth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2014.

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.