What are the chances Danica Patrick drives in the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in 2018?

Mike Reader, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

Danica Patrick hopes to make a grand and dignified exit from racing's highest level by driving in racing's two most storied races in America -- Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 -- in 2018.

But that "Danica Double" looks less likely now in light of reports that talks between Patrick and Chip Ganassi Racing, one of two organizations that field teams in both NASCAR and IndyCar, have broken down. If nothing changes, that means Patrick might have driven for the last time in racing's highest leagues.

Chip Ganassi told a crowd last week at the Performance Racing Industry Show that "talks have maybe stalled," according to Jerry Jordan, the creator and editor of the website.

"It's not anyone's fault or any reason, I think it is just we, sort of, have different things in mind. Nobody is right or wrong here but, yeah, probably not going to happen."

Roger Penske, who heads the only other organization with both IndyCar and Cup Series cars, joked that he sent a message congratulating Ganassi on fielding a ride for Patrick, according to Jordan. That confirms that Patrick won't race for him, Jordan reported.

Patrick, the only woman driving in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017, said in a tearful news conference on Nov. 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway that her full-time ride with Stewart-Haas Racing would end with the season finale there. But she ended with an optimistic tone.

Patrick said she planned to cap her career, which included seven Indy 500 races from (2005 to 2011) and six Daytona 500s (2012 to 2017), by driving in the 2018 editions of those marquee events.

Patrick has enjoyed success in both races, though she won neither.

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In 2013, Patrick won the pole for NASCAR's Daytona 500 -- a first for a woman -- and finished eighth -- the highest finish ever for a female driver. And in 2009, she finished third in the Indy 500, the best finish ever for a woman in that race.

Patrick became the first woman ever to win an IndyCar race, the Japan 300, in 2008. That was her only win in the open-wheel series, though she finished second or third six times in her career.

If Patrick finds a ride for the Indy 500, she'll be joined by British driver Pippa Mann, the only woman listed as a Verizon IndyCar Series (the organization's highest level) driver on the website.

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