Patrick retiring from racing next year after Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Danica Patrick announced Friday that she will retire from full-time racing next year after running the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500.

Patrick, the only woman to have led laps in both of those races, competed in the Indianapolis 500 from 2005 through 2011. Her highest finish was third in 2009, and she was the first woman to lead laps in the race when she paced the field for 19 trips around Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a rookie.

She won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013, but finished 24th in the standings for NASCAR’s top series in each of the last two seasons. She is 27th this year.

Patrick has one IndyCar win, in a 2008 race in Japan.

She had been sponsored by GoDaddy, but the web-hosting company left auto racing after 2015. Nature’s Bakery was then unable to fulfill its three-year sponsorship commitment to Stewart-Haas Racing and Patrick.

“I feel like this is where my life should be headed, and sometimes we just get kind of nudged there,” Patrick said. “Sometimes it’s big nudges and sometimes it’s little.”

Patrick had said she would never return to IndyCar or the 500, but changed her mind as she realized her competitive options were dwindling.

“I know I always said I’d never go back to Indy, and I was always being honest,” she said. “Well, things change. I know now you can never say never. … But this seems right, and this seems good.”