NASCAR’s first female driver, Danica Patrick, is facing an uncertain future as news breaks that she is losing her primary sponsorship from GoDaddy. This news could not come at a worse time, as Danica is finishing the last year of her contract with Stewart-Haas Racing, and will be up for renewal next season, possibly without new primary sponsorship.
According to USA Today, Stewart-Haas Racing is owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas. Along with Patrick, SHR drivers include Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch. Both parties have high hopes of a continued partnership, but the fact that Danica Patrick is losing the sponsorship could spell trouble for contract negotiations, and her future with NASCAR.
While we’ve decided not to sponsor NASCAR next year, we hope to keep Danica on board. Official statement: https://t.co/45JXxjgqZW
— GoDaddy (@GoDaddy) April 29, 2015
For the entirety of her nine year NASCAR career, Patrick has enjoyed continuous GoDaddy sponsorship. Though she is losing the company’s sponsorship in the field of racing, she will more than likely continue to partner with them personally. Danica has appeared in several GoDaddy commercials.
The sponsorship was originally started to grow the name of the company. Even though Patrick is now losing the sponsorship, it can be looked at as a success rather than a failure, as the NASCAR sponsorship grew brand awareness to 81 percent in the U.S. According to GoDaddy chief marketing officer Phil Bienert, the partnership was a huge success.
“We recognize in the United States we are not really in a brand-building phase anymore.”
Not surprisingly, losing the sponsorship has come as a bit of a shock to Danica.
“I’m sad. I’m a little surprised and I’m sad. But to say I didn’t imagine this was not a scenario would be a lie. It’s bittersweet. It’s going to be really weird to think I won’t drive the bright green, can’t-miss-it car next year.
GoDaddy has been an incredible partner for a very long time and our brands have really grown up together. At the same time, this is a new opportunity for a brand to pair with me and Stewart-Haas Racing and achieve the kind of growth we experienced with GoDaddy.”
Fox News reports that Phil Bienert says it was a very difficult decision to make, and they hold Patrick in the highest of esteem.
“Danica transcends racing and is a real source of inspiration. We are working now to see what our relationship looks like going forward. [Her] record-setting season makes it tough to leave this motorsports sponsorship, without a doubt.”
After losing the sponsorship, what does Danica Patrick’s NASCAR future look like? Will she be able to find new sponsorship in time for next season? How will losing the sponsorship affect her contract renewal with Stewart-Haas Racing? Share your thoughts here.
[Image via Parade]