The Daytona 500 Media Day before the first big event of the 2018 NASCAR season had an unexpected surprise for all those who were hoping to find out as soon as possible about Danica Patrick‘s destiny for the Indy 500. A small distraction while she talked to the press yielded the much expected confirmation that she will be racing for Ed Carpenter Racing. While there were no more details to share with the press, it is expected that she will drive a third car.
When asked about her chances for the Indy 500, a brief distraction had a high cost: “Actually I didn’t have time to meet up with Ed and the people that … Oh, did I say that out loud? I’ve never done that in my career”. The reaction of the driver was one of mild annoyance, although it is reasonable to wonder whether this was all a ‘stunt’, designed to generate more buzz about her racing on open wheel cars again in what should be her last race.
Teams such as Schmidt Peterson Motorsport, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had already confirmed they would not run Danica Patrick in one of their cars, so her options for the race were reduced and so the rumour switched to Ed Carpenter as the most likely seat for the only woman to win a race in the series. She would be racing on a third car, along with Ed Carpenter himself and Spencer Pigot.
The agreement was meant to go public at the presentation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum next month but things change with the big news being now public. All of this means that Patrick will take part in her last two races with Chevrolet power under the ‘hood’, being this the powertrain that is used by ECR, as well as being the car maker that is asociated with Premium Motorsports. Carpenter aims to fight for the win, as long as it is possible, but he reckons that Patrick should get a test program like Fernando Alonso did in 2017.