Danica Patrick is losing her primary sponsor at the conclusion of this season.
GoDaddy announced it would end its primary sponsor of Danica Patrick's No. 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup car at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Stewart-Haas Racing was informed of the decision on Tuesday. The No. 10 team was told Wednesday morning at the shop.
GoDaddy has backed Patrick since 2007, when she was racing full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Andretti Autosport.
Change in direction
GoDaddy said the decision came "as the company looks to diversify its marketing investment across more channels and regions."
"In reallocating portions of the marketing spend internationally to places where the brand is not as well-known, GoDaddy can market to small business owners and entrepreneurs around the world who want to leverage the power of the Internet with their own digital presence, while still executing on new initiatives to connect with U.S. consumers in a more targeted way," the release said.
"We love Danica and all she does to empower and inspire people, especially women, which is why we are working to keep her in the GoDaddy family," said GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer Phil Bienert. "We have the utmost respect for Stewart-Haas Racing, and they've been phenomenal partners. In fact, NASCAR has been a tremendous domestic platform to help us achieve an 81 percent aided brand awareness domestically, but at this stage, we need a range of marketing assets that reach a more globally-diverse set of customers.
"The fact Danica is having a record-setting season makes it tough to leave this motorsports sponsorship, without a doubt."
The 33-year-old racer is enjoying her best season in Cup. She's posted two top ten finishes in nine races and is currently 16th in the championship standings.
It's pretty cool, from a marketing perspective, that we helped GoDaddy build such strong brand awareness here in the U.S. I'm excited to work with GoDaddy on a personal level moving forward, but will miss having their bright green color on my racecar next year.
"GoDaddy has been an incredible partner for a very long time, almost nine years, and as I've said before, our brands have really grown up together," Patrick said. "It's pretty cool, from a marketing perspective, that we helped GoDaddy build such strong brand awareness here in the U.S. I'm excited to work with GoDaddy on a personal level moving forward, but will miss having their bright green color on my racecar next year."
Patrick continues building milestones in NASCAR just as she had in IndyCar. Her achievements were not loss on GoDaddy, which hopes to retain Patrick as a spokeswoman under a personal services agreement, despite the termination of their NASCAR sponsorship.
"Danica is a superstar. She's making history in a male-dominated sport and that takes massive commitment, tenacity and passion," said GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving. "The way Danica approaches racing is remarkably similar to how our small business customers approach their work … they're both chasing dreams in spite of huge obstacles.
"She's an inspiration to go getters everywhere. She's also helped inspire women around the world to dream big and keep working to make their dreams real. I would be thrilled if Danica stayed on as GoDaddy's spokeswoman and I want to personally thank Stewart-Haas Racing and NASCAR for their help in building the GoDaddy brand domestically."
The next step
SHR is actively seeking sponsorship for Patrick, whose contract with the team expires at the end of the season. SHR Executive Vice President Brett Frood believes the GoDaddy partnership was beneficial to both parties.
With Danica, we see a driver with unparalleled resolve and tenacity. She is an individual who transcends the sport and we look forward to fostering new partnerships for her and the No. 10 team.
Brett Frood, Stewart-Haas Racing EVP
"Our organization has been fortunate to have committed corporate partners, a focused and dedicated employee base, and drivers capable of translating these tools to on-track success. It is our intent to continue raising out performance bar with all four Stewart-Haas Racing teams and delivering results to our constituents now and in the future.
"With Danica, we see a driver with unparalleled resolve and tenacity. She is an individual who transcends the sport and we look forward to fostering new partnerships for her and the No. 10 team."
Tony Stewart, co-ower of SHR and Patrick's teammate, acknowledged that "GoDaddy has been a great partner for us and for the sport overall."
"There's a lot of season left on the calendar and it would be great to go out with a win … that would really put the exclamation point on what has been a hugely successful relationship," Stewart added.