Danica Patrick is one of Nascar’s top drivers. As a female driver, Patrick has made strides for other women in the racing world while facing criticism from other drivers and racing analysts. Despite the criticism, Danica has made a name for herself and is a hot topic during every NASCAR race

This week, Danica once again was a hot topic within the racing community. Danica announced that she will be leaving the Stewart-Haas Racing team at the end of the year. The Orlando Sentinal cited her as saying in a Facebook post on Tuesday, that " her time with Stewart-Haas 'had come to an end' due to a new sponsorship arrangement for the team next season."

Rumors had been swirling that she would be leaving the team due to sponsorship issues.

With the announcement of her departure, many are wondering what’s next for Patrick.

Her racing journey

Danica’s rise in racing began in 2005 when she made her debut in the IndyCar series. The arrival of Danica made headlines and viewers tuned in every week to see if the female driver could compete with the men. During her time in IndyCar, she achieved many milestones. She competed in seven Indy 500 races, became the first woman to win an IndyCar race, and finished in the top-ten in points for six consecutive years.

In 2011, Patrick announced she was leaving IndyCar to focus on a career in NASCAR. She was quickly signed to Stewart-Haas Racing, a team co-owned by her good friend and fellow driver, Tony Stewart.

Danica’s career at Stewart-Haas appeared to get off to a promising start when she scored a front row starting spot at the Daytona 500. Nevertheless, a string of poor performances had many questioning if she could make it in NASCAR.

Her racing future

Despite the criticism, Danica continued racing, saying it was her passion and she wasn’t ready to give it up.

Yet, with her upcoming departure from Stewart-Haas, her racing career is in jeopardy. There’s no word on if any teams are interested in her. Danica has remained mum on her plans, but that hasn't stopped the speculation about her future.

One of the rumors floating around is that Danica is ready to retire from racing to concentrate on other aspects of her life.

USA Today pointed out that aside from racing, she’s made a name for herself in the entertainment world. She’s a celebrity spokeswoman for GoDaddy and has modeled for various magazines. With her other media ventures, Danica will have no trouble maintaining success away from the track.

Will Danica be signed by a new NASCAR team? Will she join another racing series? Or will she retire from racing to pursue a different career? These are just a few of the questions that will be on everyone’s mind as the NASCAR season winds down.