Danica Patrick further built up her image by adding a new sponsor, but at the same time, it amplified the pressure placed on the female racer to starting winning more often.
According to USA Today, Patrick landed an endorsement deal with the Coca-Cola brand, specifically focusing on Coke Zero.
Patrick will reportedly be introduced as a Coca-Cola-sponsored driver on Thursday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This is huge for Patrick, as it is easily her biggest sponsor yet. Sure, nationally televised ads with GoDaddy.com have helped her garner a great deal of attention, but Coca-Cola is a global brand that will reach many more people.
However, if she doesn't start performing better, this won't look good.
Sharon Byers, Coca-Cola's senior vice president for sports and entertainment, seemed very excited to have Patrick on board when she said, via USA Today:
She's an extremely appealing figure for Coke Zero because she basically represents everything the brand does. It's one of our biggest growing brands. Her appeal to young adult men is the exact consumer base that we want to connect.
She's just a very interesting person. She's a fierce competitor. She's into pop culture. She loves the blend of sports and entertainment. All of that is very attractive to us when we look at personalities that will represent one of our brands.
It's no secret Coca-Cola is a mega hit around the world and for Patrick to be featured by the company is a big deal.
In order for this to be a superb move, though, Patrick needs to start winning. The Coca-Cola brand is a winner, and after a while, it's not going to look good if it keeps promoting a driver who struggles.
The company's sponsorship would then be merely gearing toward her good looks as opposed to skills, which certainly shouldn't be the goal.
Patrick's beauty should be just a plus in all of this. If she doesn't win, then it will become the main focus—something GoDaddy.com obviously doesn't have a problem doing, but Coca-Cola should.
So far on the year, Patrick has eight Nationwide Series starts, zero victories, zero top-five finishes and only one top-10 finish, although she does rank in 11th place.
Still, Coca-Cola will need her to start making her way to victory lane more often or else this deal won't be that much of a smashing hit.
It's a smart move by the brand, don't get me wrong, but in a sense, it makes it that much harder for Patrick to win.
The pressure is on, and living up to it will be incredibly difficult for Patrick.
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