Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Danica Patrick out at Stewart-Haas, NASCAR ride in limbo

"We're excited to announce today that Smithfield Foods will join Stewart-Haas Racing as a primary team sponsor beginning in 2018".

"It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons", Patrick wrote.

The news comes at a good time for SHR, who appears to be in a state of flux when it comes to its drivers and sponsors for next year. She has driven for Stewart-Haas Racing throughout her entire NASCAR career, and while her contract originally ran through 2018, the team did not have an anchor sponsor for her for next year when Nature's Bakery ended its three-year deal after one season following the 2016 season. She is now 28 in points with 10 races remaining. Thanks for the memories.

As for Patrick, her future remains even murkier due to a lack of sponsorship that threatened to disrupt her 2017 season. It is very unfortunate and disheartening that RPM has chosen to disseminate false statements regarding our communications to NASCAR fans who we have supported wholeheartedly with more than a $100 million investment in the sport over the last several years. "Our unbelievable partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful".

The announcement by Patrick, one of NASCAR'S most high-profile drivers, came shortly after Smithfield Foods said it would leave Richard Petty Motorsports to become a primary sponsor at Stewart-Haas next year. "I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future". Her top finish through this year's 26-race regular season has been 10 at Dover in the spring. Her best finish in the final Cup standings was 24th twice (2015 and 2016).

Patrick became the first female to start on the pole for the Daytona 500, NASCAR's season-opening race, in 2013 with her qualifying lap of 196.434 miles per hour. "I'm just kind of letting it organically flow".

Earlier this season she told "I said this past year, it's not any fun to run 20th or 25th".

Sponsorship dollars have been hard to come by for a number of drivers and teams.

That means Smithfield could end up on the No. 10 Ford, now driven by Patrick.

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