Danica Does Her Deal
After an underwhelming and anti-climactic announcement that Danica Patrick is officially returning to the Izod IndyCar Series, I’ve read and heard several different takes on the subject. Actually, I’m sort of ho-hum about the whole ordeal but I do have a few opinions to share.
I guess I’m so lukewarm about the whole thing because of how long it took for the drama to play out. We have been subjected to the “What’s Danica going to do?” question since July and it, quite frankly, grew very tiresome. I think that’s why I’m left with such a “…whatever” attitude.
I’ve read where some are questioning the viability of her new sponsor Go Daddy as compared to the clout of her previous sponsor Motorola. Most people my age and older know who Motorola is, but those over fifty that don’t follow sports are not as likely to tell you exactly what Go Daddy does. There may be some guys in their twenties that can’t quite explain what they do, but they can sure relate to their commercials with the hot chicks. Danica fits into this category. I have no problem with the new sponsor. I think it falls in line with the demographics that the IRL is hoping the Izod sponsorship can deliver and Go Daddy has certainly shown that they will use their driver in all sorts of sponsor activated ads.
I have heard no financial details about the deal. I would be surprised if it matched the three-year, $21 million deal that Motorola agreed to for 2007. Quite honestly, until Danica started sporting the orange colors of Boost Mobile, I thought Motorola did a horrible job of utilizing their prized property. They missed a golden opportunity to cash in on their association with one of the biggest celebrities in sports. It was a perfect example of a sponsor simply signing a check to get their name on a sidepod, then wondering why they didn’t get their money’s worth.
All in all, it was certainly good for the Izod IndyCar Series that she has agreed to stay for two years with an option on a third. She continues to bring new eyes to our sport, especially during the Month of May. It was also good for Andretti Autosport who needed some good news after a disastrous 2009 season. Her continued involvement with the team should make other sponsorship deals come together for Marco’s car. It is pretty much assumed that Ryan Hunter-Reay will be filling a fourth seat at AA (or would it be AAS?) with help from Izod. Nothing against Hideki Mutoh who is by far, the best Japanese driver I have seen – but RHR will be a significant upgrade.
Now that they have announced that longtime IndyCar veteran Tom Anderson has been brought in as Andretti Autosport’s senior vice president of racing operations, hopefully they can upgrade some of the engineering staff – a deficiency ever since Eric Cowdin left Tony Kanaan’s team after the 2008 season to be Ryan Briscoe’s engineer at Team Penske.
But the most aesthetically pleasing thing about the deal is the slick paint job her car will be carrying next year. I never cared for the teal & black of her Motorola car. Something about that scheme seemed to be lacking. It improved somewhat at Indianapolis this past year when it changed over to the Boost livery and the teal changed to orange. Her new scheme is a nice use of black and day-glo green. It is eye-catching, yet tasteful. It has some subtle orange striping and is capped off with a unique chrome nosecone. According to James at 16th and Georgetown.com, all of the AA cars will be sporting the chrome nose. She has an equally bright green fire suit that looks pretty good also, but it probably wouldn’t look as good if Kanaan were wearing it.
So, Monday was a good day for the Izod IndyCar Series. Their biggest star is gauranteed to be here for at least two more years. She insists that her NASCAR dreams aren’t dead. Whatever. So long as she doesn’t embarrass herself over there, it can actually be good publicity for the series as she might bring some crossover fans from the Nationwide Series…assuming that’s where she will be running. My biggest concern is that it is only a two-year deal. That means as soon as the Centennial Celebration is officially over at the Speedway, we’ll spend the summer of 2011 wondering what Danica will do, all over again.