Danica Patrick hits the wall in the second turn during the running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP)
Danica Patrick’s final Indianapolis 500 ended like her final Daytona 500. With a crash.
Patrick’s car snapped loose in Turn 2 on Lap 68 of Sunday’s 500. Not long after she lost control of her car it slapped the outside wall.
Patrick was running 17th at the time of her crash and it came just laps after a similar crash by EdJones in the same spot. Australian Will Power went on to win the race.
“I’m not really sure what happened,” a dejected Patrick said after coming out of the care center. “Today was really disappointing for what we were hoping for and what you want for your last race, but I’m grateful for all of it. Wish I could have finished stronger.”
Patrick’s star rose at this race back in 2005 when, as a rookie, she became the first woman ever to lead laps at the famed Brickyard. She led 19 total and ultimately finished fourth.
The 2018 Indianapolis 500 was Patrick’s final race before retirement and her first Indy 500 since 2011. She had six top-10 finishes in her previous seven Indianapolis starts but ran outside the top 10 for most of Sunday’s race after starting seventh. She struggled with an ill-handling car, as evidenced with her spin and crash.
After she parted ways with Stewart-Haas Racing following the end of the 2017 NASCAR season, Patrick said her final two races would be the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. She got a one-off for the Daytona 500 with Premium Motorsports and was caught in a multi-car crash just past the halfway point.
Her tenure as a full-time driver also ended in a crash. Patrick’s car had a tire problem in the 2017 season finale at Homestead and she slammed the wall and her car caught on fire. The Homestead crash was Patrick’s 10th race-ending incident of the season and her career ends with crashes in six of her final nine races overall.
Despite the ignominious end to her career, Patrick’s IndyCar success means she’s got a claim to being the greatest female driver in American motorsports. She was the first woman to win an IndyCar race and her deal with Stewart-Haas in 2013 made her the first woman to get a full-time ride at NASCAR’s top level.
Patrick finished in the top 10 in just seven of her 191 Cup Series starts. But she said this week that she didn’t have any regrets about her career.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.