SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — With Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons at her side, Danica Patrick announced yesterday she will transition from IndyCar racing to NASCAR in 2012.
"We can finally put the rumors to rest — I am going full-time NASCAR with Go Daddy next year," Danica told a crowded news conference at Go Daddy’s Scottsdale, Ariz., headquarters yesterday. "I am going to race a full Nationwide schedule and limited Sprint Cup schedule in my GoDaddy.com Chevrolet next season."
For the NASCAR Nationwide Series races, she’ll drive with her current stock car team, JR Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Danica will be with Stewart-Haas Racing, co-owned by two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. Both series will be financially fueled by Go Daddy, her longtime sponsor, who first signed the “Go Daddy Girl” in 2006.
"I am very fortunate to have a forward-thinking, powerhouse sponsor like Go Daddy," Patrick said. "Go Daddy is definitely committed and focused, which is why they are at the top of their industry."
"I have so much respect for Danica, and not just because she looks stunning in her Go Daddy fire suit," added Parsons. "She’s got it all … she’s a competitor, she’s focused, she’s a risk-taker, she’s tenacious, she’s got business savvy and look at what she’s already accomplished before ever driving a full NASCAR schedule."
Patrick finished fourth in the Nationwide Series this year in Las Vegas, which ranks as the best-ever result for a female driver in any of NASCAR’s top three national touring series.
"Danica has done a great job in a short amount of time for JR Motorsports," said Earnhardt Jr. "Her work ethic is probably the best of anyone in the sport. People don’t understand how difficult it is to do what she did — racing two totally different cars at the same time. I’m glad she gets the opportunity to devote all of her attention to this car, because I think she’s going to continue getting better. Danica has earned her place on the track, and I look forward to having her and Go Daddy back in the No. 7 car next year."
Just last month, Danica led 13 of the 100 laps in the Nationwide Series race at Daytona (Fla.), and was up front with two laps to go, drafting with her JRM teammate Aric Almirola. Earlier in that same race she paired up to draft with her new team owner and fellow driver, Tony Stewart.
"I see great things for Danica," said Stewart shortly before today’s news conference. "Danica doesn’t hold back. She really is a fearless competitor. She’s taken a systematic approach to her stock car career, which is smart. I think with the support she has from Go Daddy, Dale Jr. and all of us at Stewart-Haas Racing, Danica has a very promising NASCAR future."
Go Daddy is the world’s largest provider of Web hosting, domain name registrations and net new SSL Certificates. Patrick is often prominently positioned on Go Daddy’s website.
"Danica transcends sports," Parsons said. "And she’s the ‘real deal’ on the race track too. I know if I were driving a race car, I wouldn’t want Danica in my rear view mirror!"
Following Patrick’s announcement, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard issued his own statement:
"Danica has always been a great ambassador for IndyCar, and there is no doubt she has left a positive impression on our sport. She has touched millions of fans and many that were new to motorsports. Danica attracted a fan base that every athlete and sports property in the world would love to have. We should give her a great farewell the rest of this season as she opens a new page in her career and wish her continued success with her new direction. "