INDIANAPOLIS -- Danica Patrick's racing career ended with a wreck in Turn 2 at the track that made her famous. Patrick had been running near the middle of the pack in the Indianapolis 500 when she lost control, slid hard into the outside wall, then caromed across the track and hit the inside barrier.
The rest of the field missed Patrick as she came to rest on the infield grass.
Patrick -- who shot to prominence by finishing fourth as a rookie in 2005, the highest ever for a woman -- announced earlier this year that she would step away from racing after Sunday's race. The race capped her "Danica Double," which began at the Daytona 500, where she also crashed out well short of the finish.
"The greatest memory for me was my first Indy 500 in 2005, 13 years ago,".
Patrick has been a polarizing figure, and that only increased when she moved from IndyCar to NASCAR. She struggled to run up front despite driving for a powerhouse Stewart-Haas Racing team much of her career, and she wound up with just seven top-10 finishes.
Still, she is respected and in some cases revered at Indianapolis, where fans still remember her leading the 2009 race before finishing third. She was surrounded by autograph-seekers all month, and she got one of the loudest ovations during driver introductions Sunday.
Patrick said earlier this week she had no regrets about her career, and that she doesn't think she will have the itch to ever come back. Instead, she plans to spend time on her burgeoning business empire and with her boyfriend, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"I think all of my life I've kind of felt like you're only as good as your last race. And it's fine to live by that when you're in the middle of it, because it drives you and pushes you. But for that to really be the reality of your entire career is really silly," Patrick told Jacobson.