Danica Patrick No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet – Click above for high-res image gallery
The "Will she, won't she" debate is over – Danica Patrick is headed for closed-wheel racing in 2010. Patrick will race a partial schedule in next year's National Nationwide series in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, and she will also participate in one ARCA race. As a driver on the No. 7 team, she will be signed through 2011 to the JR Motorsports team that's owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Rick Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury, Jr. through 2011.
This bit of news is not to say that Danica is eschewing her open-wheel career – she will also continue to race her similarly day-glo green Andretti Autosport IndyCar, also in full GoDaddy.com regalia. The NASCAR events that she will race in will be interlaced with her IndyCar schedule, before, during, and after the open-wheel season.
Danica's first stock car race will be a February 6 ARCA race in Daytona, the day before the Super Bowl. As usual, her primary sponsors will feature Patrick in a slate of new commercials during the big NFL game, and we're willing to bet that they'll have a bit of NASCAR flavor. High-res gallery of her new ride below, official press release after the jump.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Dec. 8, 2009) – At last, the long-awaited announcement is official – Go Daddy is taking Danica Patrick to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010.
Danica will drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in a partial Nationwide schedule next season, plus one ARCA race. The Go Daddy Girl will be racing as a member of the JR Motorsports (JRM) team owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Rick Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury, Jr. through 2011.
"It's been a long time coming, but the stars finally aligned for me with Go Daddy and JRM," Danica said just before making her announcement. "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 and Founder Bob Parsons introduced Danica today as she made it official with the unveiling of her new stock car in front of fans and media outside Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. The Go Daddy Girl had just wrapped up her latest Go Daddy Super Bowl shoot for the world's top domain name registrar and Web hosting provider. She's also planning to attend Go Daddy's annual holiday party to be held Saturday at the ballpark.
"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 GoDaddy-esque marketing magic."
Parsons and the Go Daddy Girl driver were flanked by the brand new bright green No. 7 GoDaddy.com Nationwide Chevrolet and the equally distinctive 2010 IndyCar at today's news conference.
Go Daddy 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 considering its goal to maintain the sport's enormous fan base. In a recent news conference, NASCAR's CEO Brian France was asked about Danica joining NASCAR. France said, "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.
The world will surely be watching when Danica drives her bright green GoDaddy.com car in her first-ever stock car race, an ARCA event in Daytona, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6 – the day before the Super Bowl. Danica's latest Go Daddy commercials are set to debut during the Super Bowl.