Regarding it as “the ultimate fit,” Danica Patrick announced Thursday that GoDaddy would be sponsoring her cars in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 this year – the “Danica Double” sendoff to her historic career competing in big time auto racing.
So far, Patrick has no ride yet for next month’s Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 in May, but she now has the financial backing to pull it off.
In an interview with ESPN.com, Patrick would not say whether her Daytona ride would be in one of the cars that has a guaranteed spot or whether she would have to vie for the four open spots and qualify her way into the 40-car field.
With Daytona 500 qualifying a little more than three weeks away, Patrick seemed confident she could have a competitive ride. With all the major rides taken for Daytona, it appears Patrick will have to compete with a smaller, less-funded organization.
Patrick still hasn’t revealed which teams she will be driving for in either of the races, but did confirm news will be coming shortly about her Daytona 500 plans. Patrick drove for Stewart-Haas Racing all five of her full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series seasons from 2013-1017.
Patrick is the only woman to have led laps both in the Daytona 500 (nine) and the Indy 500 (29) – two of the world’s most renowned races. She won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500 and finished eighth.
“We’re definitely pretty close on all that stuff, especially on the NASCAR side,” Patrick said. “We’ll be announcing that as soon as we can. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t going to be a situation that would give me an opportunity to run up front and win the race.”
As far as the Indianapolis 500, Patrick said “there have been a lot of cool options on the IndyCar side.”
Patrick has had a busy offseason with her new business ventures, looking for sponsorship and rides. She also went through the breakup in late November with driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. before dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. She wouldn’t talk about the reasons for the breakup.
“Obviously I like to keep my personal life, personal,” she said. “But there are only kind thoughts and feelings and hoping the best for everyone. It’s all about being in the best place that you can be for yourself.”
This time around with GoDaddy, Patrick will symbolize the new core mission of the company that helped make her one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.
“There’s this great story: I left IndyCar with GoDaddy on my car, I started NASCAR with GoDaddy on my car, I’m most recognized as the GoDaddy green car and driver, and so to finish up my career that way feels appropriate,” Patrick told the AP from Scottsdale, Arizona.
Her final race will be the Indy 500, an appropriate choice because it was “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that rocketed Patrick and GoDaddy into pop culture notoriety.
GoDaddy and Patrick grew up together. The company switched series with her and marketed her as a strong, sexy woman in 13 Super Bowl commercials — a record appearance for a celebrity. Now, the company is most interested in Patrick the budding businesswoman who is firmly closing the door on her racing career and rebranding herself as an entrepreneur. She has a book out, an apparel line and a wine label.
“Our goals are so well-aligned,” Barb Rechterman, the chief marketing officer of GoDaddy, told AP. “She’s passionate, tenacious and creative just like so many of our customers who are also looking to leverage the power of the internet and turn their ‘side hustle’ into a full-time business. Danica absolutely epitomizes the heart of our GoDaddy customers.”
Prepare to hear a lot about the “side hustle” as GoDaddy climbs aboard the fledgling “Danica Double.”
Patrick announced in November she would end her driving career with the Daytona 500 and Indy 500, but she didn’t have a deal completed for either race. Talks ended with Chip Ganassi Racing about a possible ride, and late last month, Patrick said, she called former GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and asked about a reunion.
GoDaddy has rebranded since it last teamed with Patrick. The company now touts itself as “the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures,” and there’s no better spokeswoman than Patrick, who is in the next chapter of her life and her brand.
GoDaddy pulled out of racing after the 2015 season, and Patrick hasn’t had the same level of funding and marketing support since. Patrick has slowly reshaped her image, first into a Instagram model and is now a full-blown lifestyle guru. She realized — at the age of 35 — she was on her own.
She and GoDaddy aligned for a splashy move into NASCAR, where she was glamorous off the track but only mediocre on it. She is cutting the cord on racing after Indy, and her focus is on a sense of well-being far away from the track.
“Their business is so perfectly paired to what is going on with mine, so when we sat down and met, it was like, `Let’s talk about our business. Let’s talk about the messaging. How does this work?” Patrick said. “And this is undeniably perfect for both of us. Not only is it a huge two races and the biggest two races of the year, but on top of that, you have so much `side hustle’ going on, and all the messaging and our brands, and where we are going is so perfectly paired.”
GoDaddy can help Patrick move on to whatever it is for racing’s former “It Girl.” The company will help her streamline her online presence. Patrick, for the company, is back as a neon green-and-yellow symbol to all the wannabe entrepreneurs chasing dreams.
Patrick said she knows she gets those rides because she believes she will.
“That’s just the way the universe works,” she said. “You have to ask for what you want. Things have taken a long time with this, but you just have to go with the flow on these things. The universe is not on your time schedule.”
It will be very interesting to see if Danica can partner with viable teams in both the 2018 Daytona 500, as well as the Indy 500.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!