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Danica Patrick’s NASCAR career ends in a terrifying wreck Twitter/@NASCARONFOX

It goes without saying that when you are watching the Daytona 500, you are instinctively waiting for the crashes that will ultimately end the day for some of your favorite NASCAR drivers.

But some crashes — well, they are harder to watch than others.

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It was the crash that occurred with 19 laps left to go in Stage 2 of the Feb. 18 race that undoubtedly hit the hearts of Danica Patrick fans everywhere, as she was wrecked and forced to crawl out of her car for the final time.

“I feel like the whole thing was picture perfect, but it just wasn’t meant to be today,” Danica said in an interview with FOX after leaving the infield care center, where she was checked for injuries after the crash. “That’s the gamble of Daytona. I’m grateful for everything, and thank you to all the fans. I have one more.”

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Indeed, while the Daytona 500 is Danica’s last NASCAR run, she will race again come May when she starts in an Indy Car at the Indianapolis 500 before she hangs up her driving suit for good. And while Daytona certainly didn’t end the way she hoped, her fellow driver and friend Dale Earnhardt Jr. had some words of advice for her in the days before the race.

“Everything’s not gonna be rosy,” Dale Jr. said during an interview with USA Today’s “For the Win.” “It never is. But don’t let bring you down, and don’t let that take the enjoyment out of the whole thing. But it’s hard to do because you get in there and get competitive, and you just want to make yourself miserable trying to be the best you can be. I’d tell her to chill on that, if she could, and just enjoy it.”

And we have enjoyed watching it Danica.

Here’s to her future!

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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