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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

Welcome to The Score, your place for hard-hitting sports business news, fast-breaking updates and fuel-injected debate.  Buckle up.  I'm your host, Anthony Schoettle, IBJ sports reporter.

Sports Business

Danica Patrick grabs steering wheel of her own career

December 1, 2009
KEYWORDS Sports Business

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.
 

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