The NASCAR Cup Series season finale - Sunday's Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway - will be Patrick's last race as a full-time driver, she announced Friday at the track. Her 2018 plans are rather interesting, though, with Patrick announcing that she'll compete in both the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 before retiring from racing all together.
The first woman to compete full time in NASCAR's highest level, her career-best finish in the Cup Series was sixth at Atlanta in 2014. In her first Indy 500 appearance in 2005, she posted her best qualifying performance of fourth. It took "months" to come to the realization that retirement was in her future.
"I know I always said I'd never go back to Indy, and I was always being honest", she said.
Patrick was emotional during the announcement, and her family there with her was also in tears.More news: Based Rockwell Automation to consider second takeover bid from St. Louis' Emerson
Patrick didn't reveal which teams she would drive for in 2018 but "nothing's final yet". "My plan is to be at Indy, and then I'm done".
Patrick will not be driving in the Daytona 500 for Stewart-Haas Racing, team co-owner Tony Stewart told AP. It was announced that Patrick would be replaced by Aric Almirola in early November. She won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013, but finished 24th in the standings the last two seasons.
"I don't feel like I was necessarily pushed into this". But I definitely was faced with situations at the beginning of the year that I had never faced before. Patrick does not have a NASCAR contract for next season.