Patrick won't return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018

Patrick won't return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018

Her breakup with Stewart-Haas Racing came after Patrick's primary sponsor, Nature's Bakery, stepped back from a three-year contract in January after one season. Smithfield Foods, which has sponsored the No. 43 auto for Richard Petty Motorsports in the past, said Tuesday that it would be joining SHR in 2018.

Patrick has been with Stewart-Haas Racing all six years that she has been involved in NASCAR. The 35-year-old owns seven top-10 finishes in 180 career starts.

Patrick, 35, now sits 28th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, the lowest in her cup career.

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"I didn't say that either", Kenseth said. "If I have the opportunity to drive for a team that is going to give me a chance to win, then I'll do it".

In an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2016, Patrick said, "I don't ever see myself just racing IndyCar anymore" before adding that she's unlikely to ever run the 500 again. "In fact, she's sought out new challenges throughout her career, and that's what brought her to NASCAR and Stewart-Haas Racing". She has also done the job of attracting a younger female demographic to NASCAR, despite being a polarizing figure among many fans. While not likely racing next year, she likely will remain a familiar face at the race track as boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. competes for Roush Fenway Racing.

Arguing Patrick had success on the track with those numbers would be a stretch. Tony Stewart also won a championship in 2011.

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Still, the Census data is closely watched because of its comprehensive nature. Women earned 80.5 percent of men's earnings, up from 79.6 percent in 2015.

For at least a year, ratings would soar and IndyCar gets what it's been saying it wants all along: A chance to show as many people as possible why it's the world's most competitive racing circuit.

"I've been on the good end of sponsorship and money for a very long time, basically my whole career", Patrick said. She is still the only woman to be on the pole for any of the 2,524 Cup races.

IndyCar career when she decided to make the jump to NASCAR's top level in 2011. She said Wednesday that she found out earlier this summer that SHR would not field a vehicle for her in 2018 if it could not find sponsorship. As for Patrick, the time has come for her to move on. "She loves the competitiveness of it and has been doing it for a long time, so I think if it was up to her she would try getting in a competitive vehicle and keep going out and competing", Stenhouse said Wednesday.

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