Danica Patrick’s Legacy Won’t Be Defined By Her Final Laps

By: Camille Jones/TheFourthTurn.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Danica Patrick’s final race of her career didn’t end as she had hoped, but her historic career will not be defined by her last time climbing behind the wheel of a race car.

Patrick ended the Indy 500 in the 30th position following a crash on lap 68, when the rear end of her No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet snapped loose, sending her around as she made heavy impact with the outside wall.

With that wreck, Patrick’s professional racing career that has put her on the national stage since 2005, came to an end.

“Definitely not a great ending, but I kind of said before I came here that I feel like if it’s a complete disaster, ‘complete’ like as in not in the ballpark at all, look silly, then people might remember that,” Patrick said after the accident in her first race back behind the wheel of an IndyCar since 2011. “If I win, people will remember that. But probably anything in between might just be a little part of a big story. So I kind of feel like that’s how it is, you know. I’m appreciative for all the fans, for GoDaddy for Ed Carpenter Racing for giving me a good car. Today was a tough day. A little bit of it was okay, a lot of it was tough to drive.”

She spoke honestly in the final media availability of her racing career.

“I don’t even want to be here because I’m pretty sad,” Patrick said. “I guess I’ll stop there. I will say, though, for sure I’m very grateful for everybody and for being able to finish it up like I wanted to. It still was a lot of great moments this month, a lot of great moments this year.” 

One race won’t define the impact she had on motorsports. One “Danica Double,” the name that was given to her final two races – the 2018 Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 – that both ended in crashes, won’t take away the years of smiles she left on fans young and old as she passed through the garage area every race weekend since she hit the national scene 13 years ago.

What will define her legacy is how she affected the lives of those around her in the racing world and beyond. Being a woman in a male-dominated sport set her apart, but her powerhouse personality and determined demeanor put her on another level as a competitor and yes, a celebrity, in the sports sphere.

There were high points to her racing career, including several dominant results in the Indianapolis 500, a Daytona 500 pole, and of course, her 2008 IndyCar win in Motegi, Japan. Still, it won’t be numbers or trophies that define her legacy. It will be the impact those moments had on those who witnessed them.

Thirty-six-year-old Patrick leaves Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a wealth of ventures leading her into retirement from auto racing. From a health and fitness book, “Pretty Intense”, to her clothing line, “Warrior,” and her wine, “Somnium,” Patrick will take on a life of doing whatever brings her joy and pursuing projects that she’s excited to be a part of.

The days of enjoying farmers markets and Sundays without a schedule now also become a reality for her.

For once, she will no longer live by the grueling racing schedule, feel the demands of sponsorships or have to manage the stress of team politics. She will be free to continue following every dream she has outside of racing.

Never fear, Patrick won’t sit for too long. From the upcoming Auction Napa Valley, to managing her businesses and soon becoming the first woman to ever host the ESPYS this July, she’ll have a full schedule ahead of her.

That powerhouse personality and determined demeanor won’t cease to exist as she hangs up her helmet. This isn’t the end for Danica Patrick. In fact, this may be just the beginning.

TheFourthTurn.com is a daily motorsports news outlet based in Florence, South Carolina, concentrating on NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws Late Models and much more. On the site, you’ll find unique opinions, original news content, team press releases, breathtaking photos and videos. Be sure to like TheFourthTurn on Facebook and follow @TheFourthTurn on Twitter.

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