Patrick to part with NASCAR team

Lynette Rowe
September 13, 2017

Patrick has spent her entire NASCAR Cup Series career with SHR after racing for seven years in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

No matter your opinions on Patrick's mid-pack performance in the Cup Series after she made the career switch to stock cars, she makes an important contribution to the sport: She shows young girls that racing cars can be for them if they want it to be. Patrick also said at the time that she would consider racing for another team.

"My time driving for them, however, has come to an end due to a new sponsorship arrangement in 2018". Her top finish through this year's 26-race regular season has been 10 at Dover in the spring.

The new driver of the SHR Monster Energy Cup auto will be named later.

She's the only woman to win a top-flight NASCAR pole position, and while some in NASCAR have grumbled that the attention she garnered on the circuit outweighed her achievements at least one fellow-driver recognised her on Tuesday as a ground-breaker. "We have enjoyed our relationship with Richard Petty over the past five years, but are excited to join SHR and explore new ways to leverage our NASCAR sponsorship", said Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO.

"Sponsorship plays a vital role in our sport, and I have been very fortunate over the course of my career, but this year threw us for a curve", Patrick said. Right now, my focus is on the remainder of the 2017 season and finishing the year strong. "Our wonderful partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful".

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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. "I'm just kind of letting it organically flow".

In 180 career races, 170 of which with the top-tier Stewart-Haas Racing team, she has never finished in the top 5 and has only finished in the top 10 once, with just one of those top 10 finishes coming in the last 90 races.

"I have no interest, as I've said for years now, to run 25th".

Her racing accomplishments helped earn her fame worldwide, and website hosting service GoDaddy latched on her to celebrity, growing it with what some would term as risqué ads that debuted during the Super Bowl.

That means Smithfield could end up on the No. 10 Ford, now driven by Patrick. Busch, the Daytona 500 victor, does not have a deal with SHR for next season.

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