Just because the GoDaddy girl is having the time of her life, leading laps in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series and performing two-car tangos with Tony Stewart in excess of 190 miles per hour and posting top-10 finishes, don’t expect her to drop her IndyCar ride and move south tomorrow.
She still has nine races to run in the IndyCar Series. Yet when Patrick was asked whether her success in NASCAR will influence her career choice, she replied, “We’re taking it one race at a time.”
In Friday night’s Subway 250 at Daytona, Patrick challenged for her first stock car win, but ended up in a last-lap multicar wreck and finished 10th. She “got disconnected” from teammate Aric Almirola after Mike Wallace rose up a lane and disturbed five close-knit tandems that were coming out of Turn 4 and approaching the checkered flag.
“Dropped back to get Aric and started to go and it looked like Mike Wallace was … it looked like he was struggling,” said Patrick, who led five times for a total of 13 laps. “He was kind of high, and then started drifting low, and all of a sudden he came up high in front of me, and there was just nowhere to go. It just looks like a bit of a cluster.
“Kept it straight — kept my foot in it, too. I know that’s probably not the right thing to do when there’s a crash, but, you know I was going for broke with the GoDaddy car. There wasn’t much room out there for open lanes on the top, but I was taking ’em.
“I learned a lot, that’s for sure. I was glad I pushed a little, because I was thinking I’m only good as a leader. But overall, it was a good day for the GoDaddy car, the guys did a good job on the stops, and I had a lot of fun.”
While Patrick’s first love has always been Indianapolis, Daytona is catching up as a close second.
“I love Daytona,” Patrick said. “I’m fortunate that at the big arenas like Indy and Daytona I tend to have good days and I have a good little angel on my shoulder. It feels good to do well at these kinds of track. That’s why I chose to come to this race as opposed to any of the other ones this month with my free weekends ’cause I said, ‘if you’re going to be good, you want to be good at Daytona.’”
It’s been a tough season for Patrick in open wheel. She is currently 11th in the IndyCar point standings behind the wheel of her Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda. Patrick has just one top five and five top-10 finishes in nine starts.
Regarding her future, a lot depends on her current sponsor, GoDaddy.com, which was sold to a group of private equity firms this week. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported the GoDaddy Group’s Bob Parsons agreed to sell the company to KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures for $2.25 billion. Parsons, a huge advocate of Patrick’s, will remain CEO.
Patrick is in her second partial season with JR Motorsports. She ran 13 races in 2010 and has six events under her belt in the No. 7 Chevrolet this season. Her career-best finish of fourth came in March at Las Vegas and set a record for the highest finishing female in NASCAR’s top three series.
JR Motorsports president Kelley Earnhardt says she “was not privy” to the GoDaddy deal but hopes the sponsor will continue to support the team.
“I would assume that the buyers are very aware of GoDaddy’s sponsorship of Danica and what it’s done for their business,” Earnhardt said. “So I would hope they continue the relationship with JRM and Danica should Danica drive for JRM next year.”