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Nicolas Dapero steps up to Indy Lights with Juncos Racing

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Juncos Racing has announced its first driver for the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season, with Nicolas Dapero set to step up from the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires series.

The young Argentine, who will turn 18 on December 31, has enjoyed a couple successful tests with Ricardo Juncos’ team this offseason. He was part of Juncos’ driver development program in 2015 before advancing into Pro Mazda this past season from karting.

Dapero was one of only two drivers – Nico Jamin the other for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing – who stopped the Team Pelfrey juggernaut in its tracks this season. He won his first race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September, and finished fifth in points after showing steady improvement throughout the year.

“I am so excited to move up to the Indy Lights series,” said Dapero. “I’m really excited to keep my career going with Juncos Racing! They are more than a team for me, they are like family. We will work harder than ever to be as competitive in each event. I don’t have a doubt that we will be really strong next year. I am really looking forward to a great season and I want to thank all of the people who have made this possible. I especially want to thank my family, Marcos Tenaglia, Marcelo La Manna, and the whole Juncos Racing crew for their great support they have for me!”

Juncos added, “I am extremely happy to announce Nico (Dapero) will be back for another season with Juncos Racing. He proved to be a top driver in the 2016 Pro Mazda Championship finishing on the podium multiple times, and even earning his first win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Nico has shown great consistency and always finds a way to improve his skills behind the wheel. I am confident he will have a great rookie season in the Indy Lights series and I look forward to helping him improve into the next level of his racing career. I want to thank Nico for his commitment to the team, along with his family and sponsors who have been a big part of Nico’s successful career.”

Juncos Racing will continue at least as a two-car team into 2017, with the possibility of a third car added. Andre Negrao tested for the team at the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test in October, and the Brazilian would need a new landing spot after the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team ceased operations earlier this month. It remains to be seen whether Kyle Kaiser will return for a third season. Either of these two would be a good veteran driver for Dapero to learn from next season.

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/