CONCORD, N.C. — Danica Patrick became a worldwide sensation as a rookie at the Indianapolis 500, challenging for victory and becoming the first woman to lead laps in the showcase case.
Those Indy days are fading fast. Patrick’s shift to stock cars is long under way, and her ties to IndyCar were cut even further Monday – she said she won’t run in this year’s Indy 500.
Her focus is entirely on NASCAR, and on May 27 she’ll race in the Coca-Cola 600. She said skipping the Indy 500 was a “business decision.”
“I hope to do it in the future, the Indy 500 that is, and maybe it will be a double,” she said. “But at this point in time, after a lot of conversations, it’s just going to be the Coke 600, and I think it’s going to be a big challenge. It just is something that didn’t work out, as far as the business side of things.”
Patrick led 19 laps late at Indy and finished fourth in 2005. She was a career-best third in 2009.
When she jumped full time to NASCAR, she said the Indy 500 was still under consideration.
Her NASCAR season includes a full schedule on the second-tier Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports and 10 races in the elite Sprint Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Patrick had previously announced eight of her races. The Coca-Cola 600 – Patrick jokingly called NASCAR’s longest event of the season “The Coke 6,000,” – is the ninth announced race. The Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 are both May 27.
“We didn’t tell her she couldn’t run the 500. It was left up to her,” team co-owner Tony Stewart said. “It shows how dedicated she is to making this transition.”
Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti have all tried to run both events on the same day. Stewart, NASCAR’s three-time champion, completed the double twice: In 1999, he was ninth at Indy and fourth at Charlotte, and in 2001, he was sixth
at Indy and third at Charlotte.