GoDaddy.com confirmed that the company is taking Danica Patrick to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010. The IndyCar Series star will drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in a partial Nationwide schedule next season, plus one ARCA Re/Max Series race. As long rumored, Patrick will drive for JR Motorsports, the team founded by Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Rick Hendrick, and now also co-owned by Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury Jr. The deal is through 2011.
"It's been a long time coming, but the stars finally aligned for me with Go Daddy and JRM," Danica said. "I have always said I love to drive, and if I could make it work to race in both IndyCar and NASCAR – with the right sponsor, like GoDaddy.com and the right team, like JRM – then I'd love to drive in NASCAR!"
Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons and Patrick made it official with the unveiling of her new stock car in downtown Phoenix, where Patrick had just wrapped up her latest Super Bowl commercial shoot for the internet services company. "As Danica said, the stars aligned," said Parsons. "We're thrilled to expand our long-standing relationship with Danica into NASCAR. This is not only big news for NASCAR fans; it has all the ingredients for some major Go Daddy-esque marketing magic."
GoDaddy.com is leveraging its existing relationship with Earnhardt Jr. who has also driven for Go Daddy in the Nationwide Series and will continue to work as a Go Daddy spokesperson. Dale Jr.'s sister, Kelley, is VP and GM for JRM and was at today's news conference. She expressed her excitement to have a woman join the team. She also pointed to JRM's experience as a key asset in Danica's foray into NASCAR.
"One of the things JRM has to offer is proven NASCAR experience," said Earnhardt. "This is a team sport, and our team will help Danica get up to speed quickly. She's slated to begin working with our crew starting with the upcoming ARCA tests."
The move to put IndyCar's Most Popular Driver, and overall media magnet, into a Nationwide car is expected to give NASCAR a much-needed boost toward maintaining and expanding the sport's fan base. In a recent news conference, when NASCAR's CEO Brian France was asked about Danica joining NASCAR.he replied, "She has a lot of talent and would be good for NASCAR...I've told her that directly."
Danica's NASCAR races would take place before, after and in between her IndyCar schedule. Michael Andretti, owner of Danica's IndyCar team, Andretti Autosport, addressed that issue.
"Danica and I are both working hard for a win at the Indianapolis 500 – keeping the race schedules separate will help keep her focused," Andretti said.
Danica's bright green GoDaddy.com car will make its official debut – her first-ever stock car race – at the ARCA event in Daytona, on Saturday, Feb. 6 – the day before the Super Bowl. Danica's latest Go Daddy commercials are set to debut during the Super Bowl.