Danica Patrick's full-time move to the Sprint Cup Series may not have come with on-track success, but it seems sponsors still believe in the driver's bankability.
Patrick announced Friday that Aspen Dental will take over for two races next season as the primary sponsor of her No. 10 Chevrolet. She noted that Aspen Dental will be working in conjunction with her primary sponsor, GoDaddy, and seemed pleased with the partnership in a statement released on NASCAR's official website:
The addition of a new partner to the No. 10 Chevrolet is a big milestone for me, and I feel fortunate to have Aspen Dental join GoDaddy beginning in 2014. I was in Syracuse a few weeks ago to meet the Aspen team and was impressed by their commitment to making sure people have access to quality oral health care. I'm proud to team up with Aspen Dental and shine a spotlight on a part of health care that doesn’t get a lot of attention.
Aspen Dental will take over for GoDaddy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9 and at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 31. The shift will see her No. 10 car move from its primary green and black scheme—which Patrick's used since joining motorsports' most popular circuit—to Aspen Dental's well-recognized blue and white.
"I always enjoy different paint (schemes), they'll be special races," Patrick said, via USA Today's Nate Ryan. "GoDaddy is a great partner as well. It's great this partnership happened, and that they're both excited about it."
Aspen Dental has a previous relationship with Stewart-Haas racing after sponsoring Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet numerous times over the past couple seasons. NASCAR teams have increasingly relied upon varying primary sponsors instead of the traditional one, with even the sport's most popular names like Dale Earnhardt Jr. having to scramble to have an every-week deal.
Patrick and Aspen Dental announced the partnership at Talladega Superspeedway, where the Sprint Cup Series will continue its Chase for the Cup. The 31-year-old Wisconsin native finished 33rd in her first race at the legendary Alabama speedway. She also sent out a preview of what her Chevrolet will look like with the new paint scheme:
This month, Patrick's GoDaddy car has been sporting a pink scheme in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Patrick, who gained notoriety during her seven years on the IndyCar Series, is in her rookie season in Sprint Cup and her second year as a full-time NASCAR driver. She heads into Sunday's race tied for 27th in the Sprint Cup standings. She has only one top-10 finish, an eighth-place run at this year's Daytona 500, and has led only five laps all season.
But despite her struggles on the track, Patrick remains one of the sport's most recognizable faces. She appears in multiple national television campaigns, most notably promoting her longstanding sponsor, GoDaddy.
Aspen Dental hopes that what she can't necessarily bring in on-track excellence, she can bring in marketability, expanding awareness about the dental service's offerings.
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