Miami - Trail-blazing US motorsport driver Danica Patrick confirmed Friday she will retire from racing next year after competing in the Indianapolis 500 for the last time.
Patrick, whose third-place finish at the Indy 500 in 2009 was the highest ever placing in the race by a female driver, said she will also take part in the Daytona 500 next season before quitting.
The 35-year-old NASCAR racer said she will quit full-time racing for good after Sunday's Ford Ecoboost 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, before making her two farewell appearances next season.
"My sister told me I was supposed to get emotional. I said I wouldn't. But I'm grateful for all the opportunities," Patrick said at a press conference on Friday where she frequently choked up.
Patrick explained that her struggle to attract sponsors for the 2018 season had prompted her to start thinking about retirement.
"I don't feel like I was necessarily pushed into this. I feel like I should be doing this," she explained.
"I feel like this is where my life should be headed, and sometimes we just get kind of nudged there. Sometimes it's big nudges and sometimes it's little.
"But I definitely was faced with situations at the beginning of the year that I had never faced before. I've never had sponsor issues. But it made me think about things."
Patrick said she was looking forward to bringing the curtain down on her career with one final drive at the Daytona in February before the Indy 500 in May.
"I'm really excited about that, I think it's going to be a great way to cap it off," she said.
Patrick spent seven seasons in IndyCar before switching to NASCAR in 2012. Her best NASCAR finish was a sixth place in Atlanta in 2014.
She won one IndyCar victory in Japan in 2008 before her third place in the Indy 500 the following year.