By: Lee Spencer, NASCAR Senior Writer
Team owner Gene Haas confirms that SHR has sponsors willing to back the female star.
For those who have speculated the GoDaddy Girl may be going somewhere else, think again.
Stewart-Haas Racing team owner Gene Haas told Motorsport.com on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that he’d like to get Danica Patrick’s deal signed “as soon as possible” -- and he expects to do just that.
“We expect her to stay with Stewart-Haas Racing,” Haas told Motorsport.com. “We have some very good sponsors that are in the process of signing up. But we knew that. We knew going in that there’s just a lot of demand for her. Let’s face it, she’s the only woman on the whole grid so she’s going to get a lot of press, and that’s what sponsors want to see.
“We told her we wanted her to come back. She’s been very flexible about everything. It all has to happen at the same time. You can’t really sign a driver until you have a sponsor. You have to know how much money you’re going to get from the sponsor and that kind of translates into the deal you make with the driver. I think it’s all going good.”
Patrick, 33, is in her third full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series. Certainly, her highlight is winning the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, but she also has posted six top-10 finishes, most ever in the series by a female driver. Each season the driver of the No. 10 Chevy has improved her average finish. In 2015, Patrick has completed 99 percent of all laps raced. Her best finish was seventh at Martinsville.
"Even if her performance is taking longer than we’d like, she has so much consumer demand that it balances it out really well."-- Gene Haas
“Every year she gets a little better,” Haas said. “She’s better this year than she was last year. So I think she’s kind of improving. Statistically, we see that.
“Danica is a special person, too, because she has so much demand for her image, and we like that. We really like that. That’s a good balance. Even if her performance is taking longer than we’d like, she has so much consumer demand that it balances it out really well.”
With Patrick attracting a variety of sponsors, Haas says the hold-up in an announcement is simply dotting i’s and crossing t’s. In April, Patrick's primary backer GoDaddy acknowledged it would not return to NASCAR in 2016. There has been speculation that categories from the mortgage and restaurant industry could be among the liveries gracing the hood of the No. 10 Chevy next year.
“Personally, I think that’s all just a balance between — we’re probably going to have more than one sponsor and we’re going to have to get them all aligned. We have to work GoDaddy. It’s just a balancing act. Obviously, we’d like to get it done as quickly as possible. I’m sure that, when all the contracts are signed, it will happen within a few weeks.”