CP MOTORSPORTS - CP MOTORSPORTS - DANICA PATRICK LANDS NEW DEAL FOR 2016
Danica Patrick currently ranks 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with two top-10 finishes in 23 races.
That resume did not prevent Patrick from landing a new sponsor arrangement for the 2016 season.
In a Tuesday morning press conference at the headquarters of Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, North Carolina, details of Patrick’s deal with a Nevada-based company were revealed
Instead of the familiar neon green GoDaddy colors, Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet will carry the foliage paint scheme of Nature's Bakery for 28 of the 38 Sprint Cup events.
In a teleconference, Patrick explained that she was confident that a new backer could be found.
“This is really the first year that I've had to wonder or worry what I'm going to do in the next year,” she said. “I've been extremely fortunate in my career to not have to think about that. One deal rolled into the next. There was not a lot of concern.”
While Patrick has been marketing bonanza for NASCAR, her results have earned criticism from some media types.
After finishing 27th in Sprint Cup points for the 2013 season, she dropped to 28th last year. In 105 career starts, Patrick has recorded just six top-10 finishes, no top-fives and a career-best finish of sixth at Atlanta last season.
Patrick, a former open-wheel racer, said she has embarked a long-range process.
“Improving every year is important," Patrick said. “Making the Chase is something that I'm going to try to do next year. I think it's pretty hard to do it this year - I don't even know if it's mathematically possible - but that's going to be the focus next year. And that's going to be the focus every year.”
The immediate focus is Saturday’s IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, where Patrick is coming off a career-best ninth place finish in the spring race.
“I was fortunate enough to get to test there a month or so ago. I think we made the car better. I hope that we start in a better place than we started last time,” Patrick said. “I’m sure that Bristol will be all that Bristol usually is. I'm sure it will get a little bit rough out there. That's kind of what you have to do to get by cars these days.”
Nature’s Bakery is a family-run operation that was created in 2010 by Dave Marson and his son Sam. The company has 420 employees in the United States, but a company official said Nature’s Bakery products can be found in 50 state and 22 countries.
According to team co-owner Tony Stewart, the new agreement is a win-win for all parties involved.
“Well, first, it's exciting because it's somebody new to the sport. That's always I think a huge victory,” Stewart said. “For us here at the shop, we're not worried about paint schemes. We know what we're doing. We've got our drivers in place.
“It is exciting because we can sleep at night. Like you said, we all know how competitive it is. It is just as competitive, the sponsorship, as is on-track performance.”
Dave Marson said he was attracted to NASCAR by the “team effort” aspect of the sport.
“Well, besides watching it on TV, I've been an athlete growing up, I've been a coach for 17 years,” he said. “If you find a driver, you become very loyal to that driver, and you follow them. It's something I did every Sunday morning. I did it with my son, I do it with my grandson now.
“It’s been a passion. But I think it's driven from my athletics and my athletic involvement on many different levels.”
After much speculation regarding her future, Patrick said she’s eager to begin the next phase of her NASCAR adventure
“I think this is a great reminder that closing a chapter can let a new great one open, one that could be even better than you expected. I think that's really the way that this turned out,” she said.