Photo: Red Bull GRC

Red Bull GRC: Thompson kicks off doubleheader portion of 2017

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Red Bull Global Rallycross heads to Thompson Speedway in Connecticut this weekend where the points could shift significantly for the first time, as the first of four doubleheader weekends in the 2017 season.

Both Saturday and Sunday races will air at 5 p.m. ET on NBC.

Thus far Scott Speed (Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross) and Sebastian Eriksson (Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE) have split the two wins at Memphis and Louisville.

Speed leads the championship by 10 points over teammate Tanner Foust (150-140), but the top seven in points are only separated by 45 in total, from 150 for Speed to 105 for seventh-placed Cabot Bigham of Bryan Herta Rallysport.

Steve Arpin, who sits third in points, has a pair of podiums in the privateer Loenbro Ford and was unlucky to get edged out by just 0.071 of a second last time out in Louisville. He’s on 133 points with Eriksson fourth on 129.

In the doubleheader races last year, Foust swept in Phoenix, Arpin and Foust split in Daytona, and Speed and Brian Deegan split in Los Angeles. The MCAS New River weekend was meant to be a doubleheader before the second race of the weekend was washed out, and not rescheduled.

Going back to 2015, the Daytona and Detroit doubleheaders also saw split winners before Speed (Los Angeles) and Foust (Barbados) won the final four races of doubleheaders that season.

All told, that means there’s been nine Volkswagen Andretti final round wins as part of doubleheader weekends in the last two years (five in eight 2015 races, four in six 2016 races). The last weekend Andretti did not win at least one race in a doubleheader came at Detroit in 2015, when Ken Block (Hoonigan Ford) and Patrik Sandell (Herta Ford) split that weekend.

At 0.895 of a mile, the Thompson track this weekend is a bit longer than Louisville last race, with just over 35 percent dirt.

Speed and Foust will look to uphold the Volkswagen Andretti honor in doubleheaders, while Arpin, the Hondas, Subarus or Bigham or Austin Dyne will look to play spoiler.

Points Entering:

1-41-Scott Speed, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, 150
2-34-Tanner Foust, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, 140
3-00-Steve Arpin, Loenbro Motorsports, 133
4-93-Sebastian Eriksson, Honda Red Bull OMSE, 129
5-24-Mitchell deJong, Honda Red Bull OMSE, 123
6-16-Oliver Eriksson, Honda Red Bull OMSE, 110
7-2-Cabot Bigham, Bryan Herta Rallysport, 105
8-55-Chris Atkinson, Subaru Rally Team USA, 57
9-14-Austin Dyne, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, 54
10-18-Patrik Sandell, Subaru Rally Team USA, 53

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/