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NHRA: Retired Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria recalls career, looks at future

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For fans of now-retired Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria, she’ll never say never about potentially returning behind the wheel one day.

But it may be a while — like five years from now or so.

DeJoria will appear on the syndicated “In Depth With Graham Bensinger” TV show this weekend, which will feature her famous father, John Paul DeJoria, who founded the Paul Mitchell Hair Salons and line of hair products, as well as The Patron Spirits Company, which features Patron Tequila.

But because Alexis is also famous in her own right, she played a big part in the show and offered some insight into possibly racing once again.

DeJoria said she’d consider a comeback once her daughter Isabella (15 years old) and step daughter Sunny (13) leave the nest with her and husband Jesse James.

“Maybe when the girls are out of the house, in college or something like that – I might,” DeJoria said of racing again to Bensinger. “Or I might just do some fun countdown races or maybe race Indy (the U.S. Nationals).

“(But) it’s hard to find a team that will come together for just a couple races. … It just all depends on what’s out there and really what I’m willing to sacrifice at home to do that again. But as far as a full-time schedule, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Alexis DeJoria began racing in NHRA in 2005, starting in Super Gas and advancing to Top Alcohol Funny Car in 2007. She co-owned and operated her own team from 2009 into 2011.

She then joined Kalitta Motorsports in the latter part of the 2011 season in a Nitro Funny Car and became the first female driver in that class to break the sub-four-second barrier. She remained with the team, sponsored by Patron Tequila, through last season.

She won several races in Funny Car, the most notable one being in the 2014 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

The interview with father and daughter DeJoria featured several good stories that the pair shared, including how John Paul turned over his super-fast Vector to Alexis to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas right after her 16th birthday.

“I said, ‘Lexi come with me,’” John Paul said. “The minute we cross the California/Nevada line, I let her jump in the seat and just drive this thing; very fast car. In those days it was the fastest road car ever made. 227 miles an hour top-end, 750 horsepower, twin-turbo.

“So she jumped in there. … And then she got on it and got on it and got on it. Pretty soon I realized we’re going about 200 miles an hour!”

Alexis interjected, reminding her father, “YOU told me to pass this person.”

To which John Paul responded, “I did… She passed them good. … And then I realized what 200 miles an hour was like. She was fine with it. I made her slow down because at that speed you have to see one mile ahead of you… Pretty gnarly, but she drove it great!”

Added Alexis, “I think that’s where I got my racing bug from – definitely my father and his enthusiasm for sports cars.”

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/