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Is Danica Patrick a Legitimate Contender in Final Career Race?

May 26, 2018 7:00 PM EDT

The Highlights

  • Danica Patrick will make the final start of her motorsports career in Sunday’s Indy 500
  • Patrick opened 30-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook on May 7
  • After qualifying seventh, Patrick has moved to 20-1

When the green flag waves at the conclusion of Sunday’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500, the career of arguably the most successful professional female racecar driver will officially come to a close.

Danica Patrick started her IndyCar career in 2005, notching one win and seven podium finishes in seven seasons. In 2012, Danica took her talents to NASCAR, where her performance on the track never quite equaled her popularity off it.

 

In September, Patrick announced that 2017 would be her final full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. She also revealed her attempt at a “Danica Double” in 2018, comprised of starts in NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and IndyCar’s Indy 500.

Patrick landed a ride with Premium Motorsports, an underfunded Cup Series team, at Daytona. As a result, she was never considered a true contender to win the Daytona 500 because of the team’s lack of resources.

However, Patrick secured a seat with IndyCar’s Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) for the Indy 500, a team that has shown plenty of speed so far in the month of May. Team owner and fellow driver Ed Carpenter secured the pole for Sunday’s Indy 500, while teammate Spencer Pigot earned a sixth-place spot on the starting grid.

Just like her teammates did, Patrick impressed in qualifying and will start seventh for Sunday’s race. With all three ECR cars starting in the top 7, it’s clear that Patrick’s Indy equipment is significantly better than what she ran at Daytona.

Does this mean Patrick is a legitimate contender to kiss the bricks in her final race?

On May 7, Patrick opened 30-1 to win the Indy 500 at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Odds came off the board throughout last week’s practice and qualifying sessions before Patrick reopened at 20-1 earlier this week. After adjusting for the vig, 20-1 correlates to a 3.4% chance of winning the race.

Currently, there are 11 drivers with better odds than Patrick’s 20-1. While Patrick isn’t among the race favorites, she’s by no means a longshot either.

Patrick will have one final chance to work on her racecar during Friday’s Carb Day practice session.

Credit:

Pictured: Verizon IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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