Danica Patrick out at Stewart-Haas Racing after 2017 — NASCAR breaking

Danica Patrick out at Stewart-Haas Racing after 2017 — NASCAR breaking

Danica Patrick out at Stewart-Haas Racing after 2017 — NASCAR breaking

The pioneering female driver announced Tuesday that she would not drive with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018. A new sponsorship arrangement is the reason for her departure, however.

"It is very unfortunate and disheartening that RPM has chosen to disseminate false statements regarding our communications with NASCAR fans who we have supported wholeheartedly with more than a $100 million investment in the sport over the last several years". The new driver of the SHR Monster Energy Cup vehicle will be named later.

Danica Patrick, the only female driver now in the top-level Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, won't compete for Stewart-Haas Racing in the series next year.

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Patrick, 35, struggled this NASCAR season, finishing 28th in points, which tied for the worst season in her six-year career in the Cup Series. "Our awesome partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful". Her best finish in the final Cup standings was 24th twice (2015 and 2016).

She is now among a number of drivers who have yet to secure a firm contract to drive next season.

Patrick, whose participation in NASCAR has always been polarizing given the attention she receives despite her lack of success, closed the post by writing: "I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future". She had one Top 10 finish at Dover in June, but she ended the year with five consecutive finishes outside of the Top 20. Petty, a seven-time Cup Series champion, said he had a handshake agreement with the company that has adorned his No. 43 since the 2012 season.

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"The decision to leave Richard Petty Motorsports and join Stewart-Haas Racing was hard but we feel this move will improve our competitiveness on the track and strengthen our position as a leading consumer packaged goods company", Smithfield said in a statement.

"We have had numerous discussions with Smithfield Foods regarding the extension of our relationship dating as far back as February", Petty said.

"I come from a time when we did major deals with sponsors like STP on a handshake. We've been around since 1949, and we'll be around a lot longer".

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It is possible that Patrick doesn't return to the sport as a driver after this season ends.

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