Danica Patrick grabs steering wheel of her own career

December 1, 2009
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Danica Patrick, who joined the Indy Racing League five years ago as a 22-year-old racing prodigy, is growing up and gripping tightly the steering wheel of her own career.
Sources close to the race car driver told IBJ that Patrick is taking command over her burgeoning business enterprises, leaving her dad, T.J., as more of a fan than a business manager.

So we can assume it was Danica’s decision to stay with Andretti Autosport, and if she joins a NASCAR endeavor, that will be her call as well.
But that’s not all. Danica too has become much more involved in commercial deals, decisions over licensing agreements and distribution of Danica products, speaking engagements and other off-track matters.

Companies used to hearing from T.J. and other intermediaries are now dealing more directly with Danica, racing business sources said.

Danica, 27, is making clear her goals, and they extend far beyond being a Go Daddy Girl or even winning the Indianapolis 500. She seeks a celebrity status as big as all outdoors, and she’s smart enough to know she’ll need the right corporate partners to take her where no race car driver has gone before.

This week, Patrick told AdWeek that she’d like to be a spokeswoman for Pepsi, which is pretty telling about her commercial aspirations. Look what Pepsi did for Britney Spears. No, I’m not saying Patrick wants to become the queen of pop.

“You look at the famous ads in the past, like being a Pepsi girl or something, being in those advertisements,” Patrick told AdWeek. “There are some very, very well-known brands, so many. But I think Pepsi would be cool.”

Someone might want to tell Danica that Coke is the official soft drink of the Izod IndyCar Series and Dr. Pepper (owned by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc.) is a sponsor of Andretti Autosport.
But then again, I’m sure she knows that. She’s just blazing her own trail.

  • Ooops
    Someone who wants to take control of their own business relationships should be a little more careful with casual references to sponsors and potential sponsors. PR 101.
  • on the fence
    She obviously wasn't going to say "Coke" as they dropped her after the 2007 IndyCar Series season. As a PR professional, I'm hard pressed to decide if it's all that negative for her to mention Pepsi. After all, Alex of Alex's Lemonade Stand mentioned Country Time on Oprah in 2004 and it landed her an endorsement contract with them that still finds her picture and story on their packaging across the country today.
  • The Usual
    I don't see how 12 more customers is worth PepsiCo's time or money
  • A win on occasion
    A win would help.
  • skeptic, but still
    I'm an IRL skeptic, but even I have to say that Danica has more than 12 fans. She has at least 20. Seriously, any marketing expert would tell you that Danica draws attention wherever she goes. Her merchandise sales numbers back that up. And sadly, in some ways, it has little to do with her ability to drive. Though, Paul, you are right, a few more wins would send her into another stratosphere.
  • Who?
    I still think she belongs in the kitchen with the rest of the appliances!
  • Trouble is...
    Her racing skills are modest. Her "it" quotient is modest. She has curiosity wave to ride yet, but the truth is, she is an average looking, average race car driver, with modest personality abilities. Nah. Not gonna happen. Danica will make good pop trivia in five years, however. Nope. Not the pop superstar she aspires to. Not by a long shot-ee.
  • The Usual
    How many people around here ever bought an RCA product because they were on the Hoosier Dome? I think most sponsorships are specious at best. Especially with average talented spokespeople. Can anyone remember any product Anna Kournikova ever promoted?
  • sold on sponsorships
    I did. I drove past the RCA Dome, the light bulb went on in my head, and I drove right down to hh gregg and bought the biggest wide-screen RCA TV I could find. Then my 13-year-old son accidently flung a broom stick through the darn thing. But most times, those sponsorships work subconsciously on roobs like you who don't think they work at all.
  • The Usual
    Only you weak people allow advertising to take control of what's left of your mind.

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