Andretti Autosport has confirmed that Danica Patrick will stay with its IndyCar team.
After suggestions that she could move to Ganassi or leave the IndyCar Series for NASCAR, Patrick decided in late summer that she would remain with Michael Andretti's squad. Both parties have since strongly hinted that they had agreed to a contract extension, and today they officially announced a new three-year deal with backing from Internet services company GoDaddy.com.
Patrick had been linked with a possible part-time NASCAR program in 2010 with JR Motorsports, the team co-owned by Rick Hemdrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., in addition to her IndyCar Series activities. However, the official announcement of the deal by GoDaddy made no mention of any NASCAR program. Instead, it confirmed that the company would take over as her primary sponsor in the IndyCar Series.
"Danica is the quintessential Go Daddy Girl,” said Go Daddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons, who GoDaddy credits with "spotting Danica's phenomenal marketing potential well before she won her first IndyCar race."
“Danica is a beautiful woman competing in a male-dominated sport," Parsons added. "She's passionate. She's focused. She's all about doing what it takes to win and we love that about her. Not to mention she's edgy, smokin' hot and as tough as any competitor anywhere.”
"All of us at Andretti Autosport are looking forward to having Danica back with the team and are excited about working with Bob Parsons and everyone at Go Daddy as the primary sponsor on Danica's car," said Andretti.
The team's name is changing from Andretti Green Racing to Andretti Autosport this winter as part of the reorganization that has seen its promotions arm – which runs the St. Petersburg and Toronto races – split into a separate company. Former partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree will focus on this new business, leaving Andretti in sole charge of the racing team.
Patrick joined AGR for the 2007 season and took her first victory with the team at Motegi last year. Although she was unable to repeat that result in 2009, she did achieve a career-best fifth in the championship and became the first woman to finish in the top three at the Indianapolis 500.
"I'm happy to be able to announce that I'm returning to Andretti Autosport," said Patrick. "Michael Andretti has helped me become a better driver and we hope to accomplish a great deal during the next few years together."
In addition to Patrick, Andretti also has Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti on long-term deals, with Ryan Hunter-Reay expected to replace Hideki Mutoh in the team's fourth car.