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Sponsor lineups coming into focus for IndyCar teams

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Just because not all of the 21 cars testing this weekend for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Prix View test at Phoenix International Raceway are in finalized liveries doesn’t mean they don’t have most or all of their commercial considerations finalized.

Here’s what we’ve gathered so far about the sponsor lineups, by team:

TEAM PENSKE

  • Simon Pagenaud’s No. 1 Chevrolet will have Menards for 10 races, with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in its 2017 guise and PPG and DeVilbiss to round out the rotation. Pagenaud’s No. 1 car has PPG colors this weekend.
  • Josef Newgarden’s No. 2 Chevrolet will continue in Verizon colors at St. Petersburg, with Verizon (perhaps via its hum by Verizon brand), PPG, DeVilbiss and possibly Hawk Performance on board.
  • Helio Castroneves’ No. 3 Chevrolet continues with Hitachi, Rev Group and Shell, this year with Shell rather than Pennzoil branding set to feature.
  • Will Power’s No. 12 Chevrolet is in Verizon colors all year.
  • It’s not yet fully set which sponsors have which races, but there’s not expected to be upheaval within the Penske partner portfolio.

CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAMS

  • The revealing of the sponsor or sponsors set to adorn Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Honda remains the biggest question mark of the rest of the offseason. But expect Dixon’s all-white, sponsorless No. 9 car you see this test to be a relic of just this test.
  • Tony Kanaan’s No. 10 NTT Data Honda also has additional support, as previously announced, from 7-Eleven – although largely in an associate role.
  • Full season liveries for Max Chilton (Gallagher) and Charlie Kimball (Tresiba) continue, now on the Hondas.

ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT

  • DHL (Ryan Hunter-Reay), hhgregg (Marco Andretti) and Panasonic (Takuma Sato) adorn the respective Nos. 28, 27 and 26 Hondas, with Sato’s red, white and blue colors coming over from A.J. Foyt Enterprises.
  • The Andretti-Herta Autosport entry for Alexander Rossi has NAPA Auto Parts as announced for seven races (St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Indianapolis (both races) Road America, Watkins Glen and Sonoma). The team is working on the rest of the commercial program for this No. 98 Honda.

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING

  • Expect a similar portfolio of partners back for Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Honda as was in 2016. “Status quo” is a good way of putting it. United Rentals’ black, blue and chrome colors from AERO Advanced Paint Technology are on the No. 15 car this test.
  • Oriol Servia’s confirmed for the Indianapolis 500 and pair of Detroit races in the second car. The team might be able to add the INDYCAR Grand Prix to the schedule, but is unlikely to run any of the first four races.

ED CARPENTER RACING

  • Beyond Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka, ECR is yet to reveal any additional primary partners for 2017. All three of its confirmed drivers – JR Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot – all took shots in Fuzzy’s Vodka firesuits (no, this pun was not intentional).

SCHMIDT PETERSON MOTORSPORTS

  • A slightly different livery adorns the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda for James Hinchcliffe this year but it retains the same gold and black colors as last year.
  • Mikhail Aleshin’s No. 7 SMP Racing Honda is all-black this test but is expected to join the red, white and blue car brigade once the SMP colors come on board.

A.J. FOYT ENTERPRISES

  • Two ABC Supply Co. Chevrolets for the young guns, Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz. Distinguishing the near identical liveries is easier said than done!

DALE COYNE RACING

  • As it stands, both Coyne cars will retain a white, red and blue livery with the Boy Scouts of America signage on Ed Jones’ No. 19 Honda. Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 18 car just says Dale Coyne Racing on it.

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/