Danica Patrick has spent her entire life proving herself in racing. And she has some impressive results to show for it. But now she’s ready to close the book on a long career.

She never gets far without being greeted by fans. This is the life that driver she carved for herself, beginning at age 10. But this year is different.

 “I feel good. I feel excited. The idea of having a lot of time off is like exciting to me because this is the start of my 27th year of racing,” Patrick said.

She will bid farewell to NASCAR after the Daytona 500. It’s the race she led to the green flag in 2013, the first woman to ever win a pole position in a cup race. 

 “I would imagine that I would miss the competition…that mental state that you enter when you’re in elite competition.”

Her life has seemed elite. Off the track, she’s marketed herself into industries like fashion, wineries, even a new fitness book. But she has won a race on the Indy Car circuit and will cap her career by racing the Indianapolis 500 in May.

“Man , I hope they just remember that I was a great driver and then a woman,” Patrick said. “But, they’re probably going to remember the girl thing and that’s fine. I’ve used that to the best of my ability to gain the most amount of advantages and opportunities. I hope that they remember me as a great driver.”