Enjoy watching Danica Patrick race while you can, because it might not last much longer.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver, who currently is mired in perhaps her worst season in NASCAR, is in discussions with SHR concerning her options beyond this season, according to SportsBusiness Journal’s Adam Stern. If Patrick does leave the team, Stern reports, her options are finding another team or retiring from full-time racing.
“Stewart-Haas Racing and Danica Patrick are reviewing their options about whether she will continue on as a driver for the team after this year, according to sources,” Stern writes. “Patrick is signed with SHR through 2018, but there are clauses in her contract that could see the relationship end after this year, and the sides are discussing their choices, sources said.”
In the end, it’s all about money.
Despite Patrick, 35, being one of NASCAR’s most recognizable drivers, SHR has struggled to find primary sponsors for the No. 10. Nature’s Bakery signed a three-year, $45 million deal prior to the 2016 season to sponsor Patrick, but pulled out after just one season. The situation since has reached a relatively peaceful conclusion, but it wasn’t a good look for anyone involved.
Although this is the first time actual reports have indicated Patrick could be in her NASCAR twilight, rumors of her retirement have been swirling all season.
Still in search of her first NASCAR race win, Patrick would need a miraculous turnaround to change how history views her career. She has to start somewhere, though, and Sunday’s top-10 finish at Dover International Speedway offers a glimmer of hope, no matter how faint.
Thumbnail photo via John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports Images