Following Danica Patrick’s declared intention to race in 2018’s Daytona 500 and Indy 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles has stated that closing her career with an IndyCar race is appropriate.
Patrick, 35, told media in Homestead today that this is her final season as a fulltime racer but that she aims to compete in February’s Daytona 500 and May’s 102nd Indianapolis 500.
Said Boles: “We're glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May.
"Her final career start will make what's already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.”
In 2005, Patrick became only the fourth woman to start the Indy 500, qualifying fourth, leading laps, and finishing fourth. Across her IndyCar career which ended in 2011, she amassed one win, seven podiums and two pole positions.
Boles continued: "It's also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world's attention in 2005 - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500.
“We're looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”
Graham Rahal, whose father Bobby ran Patrick in the Atlantic championship and the first two years of her IndyCar career, said recently that she would be welcome back at the Brickyard in an open-wheel car.
“It would always be great to have her back to drive at Indy," said Rahal.
Michael Andretti told Motorsport.com that Patrick would not be returning to his team, describing her announcement today as "a big surprise."