Danica races into SI swimsuit issue

February 12, 2008
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                              SI SwimsuitYou can’t say Indy Racing League driver Danica Patrick doesn’t make a splash. Patrick can be found gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue, which hits newsstands this week. Sports marketers are divided on her approach to selling herself, her team, her sponsors and the series.

Patrick has previously been featured in a photo shoot in FHM magazine and earlier this month was the subject of a GoDaddy.com TV commercial that was black-flagged by the Fox television network for objectionable content.

No doubt, despite never winning an IRL race, Patrick sells. Last year, her merchandise sales were greater than all other IRL divers combined. And no doubt, this most recent edition of Sports Illustrated will sell.

But did her most recent photo shoot go over the edge? Or is this another smart marketing move for the racy Patrick?
  • It's easy to point to her merchandise sales as a success story, but posing in a tiny two-piece swimsuit holding a racing helmet will do little for her on-track credibility. This seems a little, maybe a lot, over the top to me. Danica needs to decide if she wants to be a celebrity or taken seriously as a racer.
  • It is pretty amazing that a driver who has never won an IRL race is the top merchandise seller for the series and that combines all other drivers. I think at this point the IRL and Tony George will take all the publicity they can get and Danica in a tiny two piece certainly won't hurt. No she has never won a race but she has come close and she has been competitive at times.
  • The photo shoot may not do much for her track credibility but it sure makes my heart race. Damn she’s hot................
  • From what I hear, it sounds like Danica's sponsors are eager to capitalize on her SI appearance. Sounds like it will be good for business. 7-Eleven stores are offering a gift to the first 25 customers and racing fans purchasing a copy of the new Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue. Beginning Feb. 14, participating 7-Eleven stores will feature a special display including the SI magazine issue and 25 copies of a colored poster of Danica Patrick. The 11” x 14” poster depicts Patrick as seen in the four-page spread of her first-time appearance in the Swimsuit issue and first time posing in a swimming suit. Patrick is one of four Andretti Green Racing drivers and is sponsored by 7-Eleven, Inc.

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