New driver for No. 38 this weekend. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MRTI: Flinn Lazier, Bayley Mickler set for USF2000 debuts in Barber

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The Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires is back in action this week after more than a month off since the season-opening St. Petersburg weekend. A couple new faces are set to debut in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season at Barber Motorsports Park.

Last week, John Cummiskey Racing announced karting and Skip Barber veteran Bayley Mickler will make his series debut in the team’s No. 33 Tatuus USF-17 Mazda.

Mickler, a 19-year-old out of Perth, Australia, will look to deliver the form on par with Cummiskey’s last Australian, last year’s USF2000 champ Anthony Martin, who cut his teeth at JCR in an excellent 2015 campaign.

Cummiskey ran New Zealander Michael Scott – not of NBC’s “The Office” – at the season finale last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Photo: John Cummiskey Racing

“We’ve heard lots of good things about Bayley, and we are looking forward to getting him in the No. 33 car,” said Cummiskey, whose car will feature Regency Food Services sponsorship for the weekend. “Though he only has a year in open wheel cars he’s already shown his potential, and we think he can get up to speed quickly. We are expecting good things from him.”

Meanwhile today it was announced a famous last name makes its debut in the Mazda Road to Indy.

Photo: Newman Wachs Racing

Flinn Lazier, son of 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion and perennial modern day one-off runner Buddy Lazier, will be in Newman Wachs Racing’s No. 38 entry. A skiing and soccer star outside the track, the Vail, Col. native has moved from karting to Formula Vee the last few years.

“I am very excited to say that we will have Flinn Lazier driving the No. 38 NWR car at Barber and hopefully we’ll have him with us for more events this season,” said team manager Brian Halahan.  “With all the racing history that the name Lazier carries, this makes a great story and a great opportunity for our team to help him move forward with his racing career.

“This whole thing started when a long-time friend who works with Flinn in racing contacted me recently and said I should speak to him, and here we are!”

JCR ran Kris Wright in the team’s No. 34 car at St. Petersburg and we shall see whether he will continue this weekend. Lazier replaces Cameron Das in NWR’s No. 38 car; Das was only on a one-weekend deal with the team at St. Petersburg.

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/