Danica Patrick announced Monday morning, that she will forego her Indianapolis 500 entry, in pursuit to run her first career Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend from the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“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’s just is something that didn’t work out, as far as the business-side of things.
Patrick finished tenth last season, and finished a career-best third in 2009.
The initial announcement was for Patrick to run 10 races during the 2012 NSCS season, while only eight races had been named. This time around, the Coca-Cola 600 has become the ninth named race for this upcoming season.
“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.”
Several drivers have attempted to run both races on the same day in the past, including: Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti. 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.
“The hard part for me was you make that decision when you sign up to do NASCAR,” Stewart said. “The decision you make, you have to come to peace with yourself with saying ‘I’m not going to do this.’ That was my childhood dream anyway. It may be a different scenario and feeling for her. But it was hard knowing when I signed that NASCAR contract that I was writing off the opportunity to go race at Indy.
“It’s figuring out at the end of the day what do you really want to do. I guess that’s the part that even though it was hard to watch opening day of practice at Indianapolis, I’m enjoying what I’m doing, too, and this is what I want to do at the end of the day,” he continued. “It makes you want 30-hour days and 400-day years and we always want to do more than what we’re capable of doing, but the reality is you have to pick at some point and choose your career path. This is what I’ve done and what she’s doing now.”
Stewart also added that he has no interest in fielding a car for Patrick, if she had decided to run the 500, stating that his hands are already full with all of his other teams.