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Bird out to ‘give Buemi a hard time’ after strong early season FE pace

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Sam Bird will head to next weekend’s Buenos Aires Formula E race keen to put pressure on runaway championship leader Sebastien Buemi after impressing in the opening two rounds of the season.

Bird was in contention for victory in the Hong Kong season opener at the beginning of October, only for a slow pit stop to drop him outside of the points.

Bird once again showed geat pace in Marrakesh one month later, finishing second behind Buemi after fighting past early leader and pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist.

Despite having just 18 points to show for his efforts so far this season, Bird thinks he is the only driver to have put up a serious challenge to defending champion Buemi so far.

“In my opinion I should have won in Hong Kong. It was a race between myself and Seb, but my pit stop was terrible,” Bird told NBC Sports.

“Then I was disappointed with second place in Marrakesh. So I think we’re the only ones so far to have given Seb a hard time, and hopefully that will continue.

“Hopefully sometimes we come out on top. But he’s the guy to beat.”

Bird will venture to Buenos Aires next weekend, the site of one of his most impressive Formula E victories last year, as well as the home race for DS Virgin Racing teammate Jose Maria Lopez.

Bird was full of praise for Lopez after two races alongside him: “He’s going good. He’s a good guy, very quick, professional, nice guy to get on with. He’ll be very quick very soon.”

Despite the Buenos Aires Formula E race coming so early in the year, it will not be Bird’s first event of 2017 after the Briton raced in the GTD class for Scuderia Corsa in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Bird is set to split duties between Formula E and sportscar racing once again this year, but finds no difficulty in going from one car to the other.

“It is completely different, which means it is quite straightforward to switch between,” Bird said.

“The main thing is that when I jump in the single-seater, in the middle of the car and have no roof, it’s a completely different feel.

“If I was driving one weekend a Ferrari and another weekend another GT, that would be more confusing. The fact they are so vastly different means it is very straightforward to switch.”

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/