Photo courtesy Matt Brabham Media

Matt Brabham to race this weekend in Australia, still seeking 2017 IndyCar ride

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Before he returns to the United States, Matt Brabham has some unfinished business back home in Australia.

The 22-year-old grandson of Formula One icon Sir Jack Brabham and son of former driver Geoff Brabham, the third generation driver will compete as a “guest driver” in this weekend’s Toyota 86 Racing Series event in Sydney, the undercard race to the season-ending Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

As a guest driver, Brabham will also serve as a driving coach to young Australian and New Zealand drivers, many that came up through the karting ranks. It will be Brabham’s final race of any type for 2016.

“It will be a bit different being in the coaching role as well as being a competitor in the Series, but having seen some of the races this year, I think it might be me asking some of these guys for some tips,” Brabham said in a media release. “It has been super competitive and some enjoyable racing.”

Brabham will be one of three guest drivers, the other two being Australian racers Jonathon Webb, who won the recent Bathurst 12 Hour race, and Alex Davison, who won the Bathurst 1000.

This has been the inaugural season for the Toyota 86 Racing Series, a driver development program for those aspiring to one day reach higher levels of racing.

All of this weekend’s races will be on a street course through Sydney’s Olympic Park. It’s the same street course that Brabham raced on last year in a Stadium Super Truck.

Last year’s event was also the same weekend that Brabham announced he would make his first appearance in the 2016 Indianapolis 500 (he ultimately finished 22nd). He also competed in the Angie’s List Grand Prix at Indianapolis, finishing 16th.

Brabham is hoping that ongoing efforts to secure a full-time ride for 2017 in the Verizon Indy Car Series will bear similar fruit in the near future.

“The conversations have been ongoing while I’ve been in Australia,” he said. “There are still a couple of opportunities floating about and hopefully I can be in a position to line-up for the first round of the IndyCar season next year.”

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GoDaddy to sponsor Patrick in ‘Danica Double’ at Daytona, Indy — now all she needs are rides

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By The Associated Press

Danica Patrick is going back to green.

GoDaddy Green, to be exact – a fitting color for her farewell tour.

The company will sponsor Patrick in the upcoming “Danica Double” that will close out her racing career, The Associated Press has learned. Patrick has no ride yet for next month’s Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 in May, but she now has the financial backing to pull it off.

This time around, the original GoDaddy Girl will symbolize the new core mission of the company that helped make her one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.

“There’s this great story: I left IndyCar with GoDaddy on my car, I started NASCAR with GoDaddy on my car, I’m most recognized as the GoDaddy green car and driver, and so to finish up my career that way feels appropriate,” Patrick told the AP from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Her final race will be the Indy 500, an appropriate choice because it was “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that rocketed Patrick and GoDaddy into pop culture notoriety.

GoDaddy and Patrick grew up together. The company switched series with her and marketed her as a strong, sexy woman in 13 Super Bowl commercials – a record appearance for celebrities. Now, the company is most interested in Patrick the budding businesswoman who is firmly closing the door on her racing career and rebranding herself as an entrepreneur . She has a book out, an apparel line, a wine label and confirmed to AP this week that she’s dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Our goals are so well-aligned,” Barb Rechterman, the chief marketing officer of GoDaddy, told AP. “She’s passionate, tenacious and creative just like so many of our customers who are also looking to leverage the power of the internet and turn their `side hustle’ into a full-time business. Danica absolutely epitomizes the heart of our GoDaddy customers.”

Prepare to hear a lot about the “side hustle” as GoDaddy climbs aboard the so-far fledgling “Danica Double.”

Patrick announced in November she would end her driving career with the Daytona 500 and Indy 500, but didn’t have a deal completed for either race. Still doesn’t. Yet somehow, Patrick always figures a way to get what she wants. Talks ended with Chip Ganassi Racing about a possible ride, and late last month, Patrick said, she called former GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and asked about a reunion.

GoDaddy has rebranded since it last teamed with Patrick. The company now touts itself as “the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures,” and there’s no better spokeswoman than Patrick, who is in the next chapter of her life and her brand.

GoDaddy pulled out of racing after the 2015 season, and Patrick hasn’t had the same level of funding and marketing support since. Patrick has slowly reshaped her image, first into a Instagram model and is now a full-blown lifestyle guru. She realized – at the age of 35 – she was on her own.

She and GoDaddy aligned for a splashy move into NASCAR, where she was glamorous off the track but only mediocre on it. Through all of this, she was married, divorced, spent five years dating fellow driver and competitor Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and then seemed to find herself through a tailored diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

She is cutting the cord on racing after Indy, and her focus is on a sense of well-being far away from the track.

“Their business is so perfectly paired to what is going on with mine, so when we sat down and met, it was like, `Let’s talk about our business. Let’s talk about the messaging. How does this work?”‘ Patrick said. “And this is undeniably perfect for both of us. Not only is it a huge two races and the biggest two races of the year, but on top of that, you have so much `side hustle’ going on, and all the messaging and our brands, and where we are going is so perfectly paired.”w

GoDaddy can help Patrick move on to whatever it is for racing’s former “It Girl.” The company will help her streamline her online presence. Patrick, for the company, is back as a neon green-and-yellow symbol to all the wannabe entrepreneurs chasing dreams.

She’ll get those rides, too. Patrick said she knows she will because she believes she will.

“That’s just the way the universe works,” she said. “You have to ask for what you want. Things have taken a long time with this, but you just have to go with the flow on these things. The universe is not on your time schedule.”

More AP auto racing: https://racing.ap.org/