Danica Patrick will drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in May’s Indianapolis 500. The 35-year-old accidentally announced the seat to reporters on Wednesday, before IndyCar confirmed it on Thursday.
“I’m super excited to run for Ed,” Patrick told Indianapolis-based WRTV. “He’s obviously been a great competitor over the years. We’ve raced with each other a ton. Part of that relationship also came from Matt Barnes, who works for him, his head of engineering. He was my engineer back in 2009 and we finished fifth in the championship [at Andretti Autosport].
Patrick announced her intentions to retire in November 2017, and also revealed that she would contest the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in 2018. She is one of just 14 drivers to have led both races.
“I’m excited,” said team owner/driver Ed Carpenter to Fox Indianapolis. “I wasn’t planning on talking about it. It interrupted Valentine’s plans a little bit, but I’m excited nonetheless. I’m hoping Danica has a good Daytona 500 and then we can all get focused on having a great month of May together.
“We’ve seen what happens when people come back [to the Indy 500], whether it was [NASCAR’s] Kurt Busch [in 2014] or Fernando Alonso last year. And Danica’s return to Indy is going to be as big, if not bigger, than those other stories,” he said.
Patrick’s best Indy 500 finish was third in 2009 for Andretti Autosport, and her sole win came at Twin Ring Motegi that same year.
Practice for the Indy 500 begins May 15, with qualifying on May 19-20 and the race on May 27. Patrick will race in her final Daytona 500 on Sunday.