Nascar 2018
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Nascar 2018

Patrick has no plans to return to IndyCar, focused on NASCAR options

Danica Patrick’s racing plans are still up in the air for 2018.

Patrick has no plans to return to IndyCar, focused on NASCAR options
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Danica Patrick getting strapped in
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Danica Patrick, Andretti Green Racing
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

Earlier this month, Patrick announced she would not be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing next season.

IndyCar return unlikely

While she still hopes to win a race in NASCAR and add her name to the short-list of drivers to score victories in both a stock car and an open wheel car, IndyCar isn’t on her radar for next year.

“No. I’m not planning on anything, going back to IndyCar,” Patrick told Motorsport.com. “Never say never as I’ve said for many years because I’m getting so old and I know things can change.

“My life changes in ways that I wouldn’t expect it every couple of years. You just can’t cross off anything on the list completely.”

Patrick, 35, competed in IndyCar full-time from 2005 until 2011, when she began transitioning into NASCAR. In 115 IndyCar starts, she posted one win (at Twin Ring Motegi Superspeedway in 2008) three poles, seven podiums and 19 top-five finishes between stints with Rahal-Letterman, Andretti Green Racing and Andretti Autosport.

Since coming to NASCAR in 2010, Patrick has scored seven top-10 finishes in the Monster Energy Cup Series with a career-high top result of sixth at Atlanta in 2014. She also won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500. On the Xfinity tour, her best finish was fourth at Las Vegas in 2011. She also amassed seven top 10s and the pole for the 2012 Daytona season opener in NXS.

Patrick has benefitted from solid equipment since her foray into NASCAR — first with JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, then with Stewart-Haas Racing during her Cup tenure.

“Do I think that I’ve had the best car on track with the best engine, the best, best, best, best, best? Probably not,” Patrick said. “Have I had good teams? Absolutely? Have I had good equipment? Absolutely. The challenges are those last little details and having a group of people around you that believe that you can do it and are willing to go beyond the call of duty for the job and go the extra mile.

“My very first engineer in IndyCar uses a reference that comes to mind. He called it the "100 Hand Theory". If you stick one hand out the window, it doesn’t make a difference. If your stick 100 (hands) it does. All those small, small, small little details that stack up to make something special that goes out on track, yeah, that’s something that always hasn’t been there. I do think that I’ve always had good equipment.”

NASCAR options

As for potential NASCAR rides for next season, Patrick says there’s been interest but she’ll let her representation handle any opportunities.

“Yeah, I’ve had some but not a ton," she says. "As I’ve said for a good while now, I let business people in my business handle that and have those conversations and figure out what options are out there, and I’m going to let them do that.”

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