Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oh No Daddy! (Updated Friday 10/19)

2nd Update Friday 10/19: ESPN's Women's themed website has lept to Danica's defense with an article from motorsports veteran Brant James. Click here to read about Go Daddy saying just how much they value the Danica "brand."

Update: This Daly Planet column was first published back in June. Click here for a current story in USA Today reinforcing the fact that Patrick has not been seen in new Go Daddy ads since the company switched advertising agencies. Patrick is ready to drive full-time in the Sprint Cup Series next season. There are also some great reader comments from the time of the original posting. Feel free to add your opinion.

The images are burned into the minds of motorsports fans nationwide. Danica Patrick and her GoDaddy girlfriends pushing sexual innuendo across the TV screen. Danica and the stripping cop, Danica taking a shower and Danica joking about keeping her "beaver" safe are just a few of the tasteless offerings.

The engineer of the economic train that ultimately brought Patrick to NASCAR is Bob Parsons, the man pictured above. The founder of GoDaddy might be the ultimate creep to many, but like most self-made billionaires he sees himself as above it all. It's just a game to him driven by sales.

Last summer Parsons finally cashed out of GoDaddy in a deal that saw a group of private equity firms pay a total of $2.5 billion for the company. Parsons stepped aside from running the day-to-day operations and Warren Adelman became the company's new chief executive. Parsons remained connected to the new group and is being called executive chairman.

Little changed immediately, but Adelman has been dropping hints that the company is planning to go in a different direction. Not in terms of changing it's basic service of registering Internet domain names, but in presenting the overall image of the company to the public. Now, that change has begun.

Tuesday the New York Times confirmed that GoDaddy has hired a prestigious advertising agency called Deutsch New York to reshape the company's image. The rebranding will begin immediately with the first new TV commercials airing later this summer in sporting events including the Summer Olympics.

Click here to read the full story from New York Times media reporter Stuart Elliott.

The chief executive at Deutsch New York is quoted as saying GoDaddy did a "terrific job generating awareness." That same chief executive, who will now be in charge of the Internet company's new TV commercials, also called the older ads disruptive.

The chief executive of Deutsch New York, called one of the most powerful people in TV advertising, is a woman named Valerie DiFebo.

Elliott asked her to comment on the current GoDaddy ad campaign:

"As a woman, is it my favorite work?” she asked rhetorically, then replied, “No.”

On the topic of the future of the GoDaddy Girls:

They "will still have a role, but more in balance with what the brand has to offer," said DiFebo.

On the theme of the new ads for the company:

"The ads will tell more of a story about GoDaddy’s technology rather than entice consumers with appeals like 'To see more skin, click here,'" she added.

While Patrick and her management team have worked to broaden her commercial appeal, GoDaddy is the foundation that funded her current Nationwide Series ride and was said to be poised to continue that funding for a full time Sprint Cup Series team.

The immediate effect of this change in GoDaddy's philosophy and advertising is that Patrick's presence on TV will be reduced dramatically in just the next few weeks as the company shifts to the new commercials and image campaign. So no more body painting, dangling bikini's or veiled threats of nudity during NASCAR races.

The sport has seen a wide variety of sponsors come and go. The big question on the table is just how long Patrick's current GoDaddy contract is at this point and whether the rumored shift to the Sprint Cup Series next season is still in the works.

It won't make much sense for GoDaddy to play in NASCAR if the driver is not actively part of the company's rebranded ad campaign. This story has a lot more to be revealed over the next few weeks. Ironically, those words sound familiar.

We invite your opinion on this topic. Comments may be moderated prior to posting.


Anonymous said...

I always said that Danica had little talent and only got by on her looks. She WAS smart to ride the gravy train as long as she could. Will she have sponsorship from Go Daddy for a Sprint Cup Ride? Who knows? I'm sure she will have no trouble finding a sponsor to fund her for a while, at least.

Eventually, she will have to win races and finish in the top 10 to keep a sponsor though. Either way, I won't miss the tasteless Go Daddy commercials that made me have to turn the channel during commercial breaks.

GinaV24 said...

The chief executive of Deutsch New York, called one of the most powerful people in TV advertising, is woman named Valerie DiFebo.

Elliott asked her to comment on the current GoDaddy ad campaign:

"As a woman, is it my favorite work?” she asked rhetorically, then replied, “No.”

Can I just say "hooray" to this sentiment?

I have no problem with a woman being successful in racing, but daggone it, I'd really like it to be because she is a good racer, not because of the hype surrounding her "brand".

It will be interesting - actually I kind of like the commercials with Hinchcliffe in them. Until I saw that version when I watched the Indy 500, I would turn the channel when the ads came on since like Cialis with it's various horny couples, I found them annoying and not worth my time watching.

Anonymous said...

It's funny to me how her former teammates at Andretti didn't get criticized for not winning the way she had been...and they were not either, much. Penske & Ganassi have pretty much ruled Indycar for years; anyone else winning has been more of a fluke (Wheldon, for example.) I bet Danica is just as happy to see those ads go away as anyone. But it will be interesting to see if they can find ways to use her popularity to fit into a new ad scheme. Knowing their primary ad target are young men, one can see why they went the direction they did. But girls have websites too, but I bet it's an area they can grow, and if they can find a way to use her appropriately, that could be a win-win.

MRM4 said...

My wife doesn't like Danica because of the Go Daddy commercials. She'll be thrilled to hear these things are going to be gone.

Michele said...

I will be glad if the tasteless, tacky, sexist GoDaddy ads go away. And based on comments from many of my friends and others in my Twitter feed, I won't be the only one.

allisong said...

I read that same article yesterday. Nowhere in it did they say that Danica's role (or Jillian's for that matter) would be greatly reduced. Those two are just as capable of selling the technology of the brand as anyone else. In fact, I think it would do wonders for both GoDaddy and Danica herself if the new commercials would feature her in a less provacative way.

Lemon Lyman said...

I look forward to reading on The Daly Planet in the future about the sponsorship situation with the likes of Casey Mears, Dave Blaney, and Landon Cassill.

The TV broadcasts shouldn't be focusing on Danica over other stories in the field during races. So I can only assume those guy's teams, sponsors, and fans will get even coverage on here.

Daly Planet Editor said...


If you Google search around the web, you will see many articles that I chose not to use in this small column.

The thrust of most of them is that the GoDaddy girls are done. DiFebo was very politically correct, but her agency is not one to produce commercials that feature females for simply being attractive.


Other than Paul Menard, there are no drivers currently in the same position as Danica. She is leveraged almost totally on her TV exposure and GoDaddy ad campaign.

When Dupont left Jeff Gordon or DeWalt left Matt Kenseth those drivers continued at their respective teams. That will not be the same for Patrick.

Since we first saw her doing GoDaddy ads in her IndyCar days, we have known her funding to drive is not based on winning or even results, but simply exposure on TV.

For both JR Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing, a fundamental change in GoDaddy TV exposure and advertising may mean the funding source currently in play may end.

This is going to be a significant story, especially if this is the final season for Patrick in NASCAR.


diane said...

Why does everyone think that Danica can't replace Go Daddy if she loses that? I think she is still marketable for other companies. I personally hate the Go Daddy commercials, they are trashy. I'm not a fan of hers but there are other drivers who don't win and still have fans. I don't think she will want to quit Nascar this quickly, it would dry up the money gravy train and she is earning it for the whole extended family.

allisong said...

JD -

You said "her agency is not one to produce commercials that feature females for simply being attractive." Are you implying that Danica's role can only be "cheesecake" or nothing? I see her as more capable than that.

I think you're taking quite a leap from GoDaddy changing their ad strategy to GoDaddy dropping all sponsorship of Danica's racing effort.

Buschseries61 said...

If Go Daddy went away, I could easily see another sponsor joining on. Her name is a cash cow brand, based on nothing but marketing hype that mass media and newbie/gullible fans bought into.

The marketing team did their job, they elevated her name regardless of her results as a driver. She agreed to use cheap sex appeal to get herself recognized. She couldn't zip to the front of the field, so she zipped her top off. She got millions of eyeballs, but not for the right reasons. Unfortunately, GoDaddy offered much needed advertising $$$ in a recession, which led to sports tv types hyping her like the only driver in Indycar. People the public viewed as credible were making the connection between Danica and racecar driver, and a good deal of the public ate it up. Perception changed from 'hot girl' to 'famous racecar driver' with minimal success backing the validity of that statement. But the distortions were already set in stone, and media began to use Patrick as a familiar face for viewers and readers since motorsports is apparently an alien sport that normal human being just can't comprehend. GoDaddy rolled to the bank, Danica rolled into the ideal NASCAR opportunity - a fully sponsored, competitive car, in any series she chooses, in a recession. I watch racers I've rooted for for over a decade struggle to hang on despite great results in underfunded cars, they barely get a minute on tv. But Danica Patrick had the dream job: no results needed or expectations to meet, the cameras will follow anyway. GoDaddy $$ made sure Patrick was covered, and tv networks rode on her popularity to gain ratings. The whole 'racing' thing was on the backburner, and that is Patrick's career and what the tv networks paid millions for!

It's a really nasty spin cycle that made my feelings about her the way they are today. DW giving her 31st place Darlington run an A+ was the icing on the cake. I really connect with the racers struggling to hang on, because their surroundings are in a complete spin cycle. If the tv networks are concerned with popularity over racing, it's very hard for these racers to get tv attention, get a sponsor, get tires and a fresh engine, and race without thinking economically. GoDaddy bought it all for Danica - a provocative brand, great NASCAR equiptment, tv time, owner points - everything except the Sprint Cup trophy. There are many companies that would love to be associated with her, because she will constantly get attention for just no reason, GoDaddy already did the hard work of turning her into a 'star'.

I certianly hope there is some positive, and the hype machine helps NASCAR. But I'm afraid marketing and Danica Patricks will survive while racing and Joe Nemecheks fade.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Maybe in different economic times that might be the case, but I think that in today's NASCAR at the Sprint Cup Series level there really is not a major corporation that wants to walk in a GoDaddy girl's footprints.


What I said was a look around the Internet will show many others who share my opinion that the GoDaddy girls are done.

As I said in my column, the economic engine that brought a driver with one questionable win in a long IndyCar career to NASCAR flush with cash is GoDaddy.

I don't see another corporation stepping up for Patrick and paying for a full season ride in Cup with SHR.

Every current NASCAR team has been beating the bushes for sponsorship and I don't believe there is a company out there that will suddenly appear to foot the bill for her.

Remember, as I said in my column, she is not just a spokesman for this product like Carl Edwards for Subway. The TV package of advertising is designed around her willingness to allow herself to be used by Parsons for his sleazy ad campaign.

Nationwide did those commercials with her because Junior and JRM were involved. If the GoDaddy money goes, that deal will not fund her Cup efforts.

For all we know at this point, she may have an ironclad 5 year deal and the entire point is moot. That is why the rest of this story is going to be fascinating to watch.


Keith said...

I agree with Diane. Danica will be fine. Micheal Waltrip is the perfect example of someone who had very little talent behind the wheel, but because he was such a good spokesperson, he managed to keep sponsors.

Also, NASCAR is obviously getting a lot of attention from Technology based companies. Twitter didn't choose NASCAR because its fanbase was lacking in an online presence. It would make sense if GoDaddy maintained a presence in NASCAR.

Finally, the woman has over a half million Twitter followers and is one of the most recognized athletes in the world. This isn't Ryan Newman we are talking about, she will be funded by someone.

Unknown said...

I hate it when a bunch of prudes decide what's acceptable for the rest of us.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Do you know who Rob Kauffmann is? That might help with a reality check on why and how MWR is in business.


OSBORNK said...

I don't think Danica can ride her celebrity more than a couple of additional years. It will take people a while to realize there is no steak with the sizzle. I'm not sure a lot of companies will want to be associated with her image regardless of her popularity. If her performance doesn't improve dramatically soon, I think the fans will tire of the TV overexposure of a backmarker.

Kathy16 said...

I gotta agree with Keith, Michael stayed in rides for a long time before Kaufmann came around. That's helping him as an *owner*, not a driver. He's had NAPA since 2001....despite winning, what, 3, 4 races, all at plate tracks?

I think Danica can find another sponsor even if this didn't work out (although I think she very well could be featured by Go Daddy in a different way.) She has a lot of fans and they come in all shapes & sizes. BS61, You can't compare her to a Joe Nemecek (and I root for Joe) who's had 20 some odd years to build his career, she's had like 20 races. I don't think Tony Stewart is going to go to this kind of trouble, sponsor or not, on someone he thinks has no talent. Would I prefer that David Reutimann & Tommy Balwin have sponsor dollars like that, sure...but I'm not going to hate on her just because she was smart enough to figure this thing out.

GinaV24 said...

Jeff P - I don't consider myself a prude at all. People can do what they want and watch what they want, including girls in skimpy bikinis selling "insert brand here". Sex sells, it has for years. I enjoy looking at good looking guys probably the same way you like to look at good lookign women. Certainly it didn't hurt Jeff Gordon that he is a good looking guy who was a good looking kid, who turned out to be pretty darn marketable AND is a successful race car driver. I'm sure it doesn't hurt Carl Edwards either - he took his shirt off albeit for Men's Health, but it was still beefcake.

Still, when the entire focus of a person's career is to entice and titillate and the on track results don't live up to the hype, it isn't prudishness, it's bait and switch. As Buschseries pointed out, the media, cameras, and announcers are all acting as if Danica's the 2nd coming and when they continue to applaud her meager results as if they are something marvelous, well, it strikes a "pose" that just makes a mockery out of the sport.

Darcie said...

I'm just wondering how Danica's previous use of her body to identify her brand, and her association with a company that used what some term "soft porn" tactics in their advertising, will affect another company's decision to sign her to promote their products. No matter what, Danica will always be associated with her bikini pictorials (some of which are highly sexual---the spread eagle on the hood of a car for one) and her double entendre commercials, and that might come into play for companies that consider themselves family/female friendly. As a woman, I was always offended by the Go Daddy commercials that seemed to denigrate women to male fantasy bimbos. While it doesn't appear to have affected Coke from signing her to a contract, it's well known that the brand of Coke she's working with is targeting young males in the 18 to 34 demographic. But, can you see any company strongly associated with women or household entities? I really think her association with Go Daddy will tarnish her future branding.

Tracy D said...

John, aside from Kauffman's 50% of MWR, Waltrip still has sponsors. I think that's Keith's point. And I agree, it has to do with his ability to keep a sponsor's name "out there." Annoying as it may be, his schtick works.

Despite my distaste for the Go Daddy girls, I do think those ads are tongue-in-cheek and work with the young male demographic. Plus, you always get the feeling Danica is letting the viewer "in" on the joke. Danica will come up with another sponsor should Go Daddy take a hike. She's as good as MW in the advertising-her-sponsor gig.

Anonymous said...

The picture of Parsons at the top of the column has given me the creeps since I first saw it. I hope Parsons goes away, counts his money, and keeps his fantasies to himself.

I agree with JD that it will be interesting to see how this plays out, i.e., the length and nature of Go Daddy's contractual obligation to fund Danica's racing efforts. I would personally find it interesting to see her continue her NASCAR career in some underfunded team in second class equipment.

I would love to hear DW and even the ESPN crew heaping praise on her for what a great job she is doing in a start and park role. I imagine ESPN is having meetings now about what they will have to do if their favorite driver disappears. And speaking of DW, someone really ought to check in on him. He's probably in the middle of a panic attack.

It will also be interesting to see how much faith in and commitment to her will be shown by Tony Stewart, Junior, Hendrick, etc if the Go Daddy money dries up. Absent big money from Go Daddy or another similar sponsor, I think she will find herself lonely in the NASCAR world.

Will the next savior of NASCAR please step forward. Start warming up. You may have to go into the game very soon.

Anonymous said...

"It's funny to me how her former teammates at Andretti didn't get criticized for not winning the way she had been...and they were not either, much. Penske & Ganassi have pretty much ruled Indycar for years;"

First I just wanted to comment on this. In 2007 she started driving for Andretti Green Racing which that year won 9 out of 17 races and finished 1st and 3rd in points. She got 3 podiums that season and finished 7th, so she certainly had chances. I would also say she was better than some may say considering she was the top non-Ganassi/Penske driver in 2009.

Danica will continue to have sponsors fund her. She has only been sponsored by Go Daddy full time on the race car for the last 3 years from 2010 onwards. In 2005-2006 with Rahal-Letterman she was sponsored by Argent and some other sponsors (don't remember). From 2007-2009 at Andretti Green she was sponsored by Motorola and Boost Mobile for the last part of '09. I think there will be other companies willing to sponsor her if Go Daddy falls away.

Although she has been affiliated as a "Go Daddy girl" since '06, she has had other sponsors as well.

LpMv2407 said...

I think you're wrong JD. Danica has way too much pull for someone not to step up. She brings the clout of Travis Pastrana & Dale Jr. I mean she might not get the $20 Mil or so GoDaddy would pay but I feel confident she could get $10-$15 mil Sponsor.

She has all kinds of sponsors & endorsement deals: Nationwide, Hot Wheels, Coke, Peak, Tissot, Sega, Academy Sports, Drive4Copd, Chevy, WilliamRast, Troy Lee Designs, & Alpinestars just to name a few. I mean if each up these ponied up $1Mil she could run on a smaller team. GoDaddy hasnt said they are leaving either.

The brand definitly built her and brought her to big time auto racing. Danica is now a brand on her own. I'm not saying she deserves it over a lot of drivers, but lets be real, if she wasnt an attractive woman she probably wouldnt be in NASCAR right now. If Paul Menard didnt have a daddy with a big hardware store he probably wouldnt either.

If she gets a Nationwide win ever it'll be $$$ as far as the eye can see.

KoHoSo said...

Let me take this in a different direction for just a moment.

Now that true professionals are leading GoDaddy's marketing efforts instead of somebody just having his version of fun (like it or not), they have to ask themselves this. Does spending $X million on Danica Patrick or James Hinchcliffe in IndyCar lead to getting more customers? Considering that NASCAR and IndyCar have some of the oldest overall fan demographics, the answer just might be, "No."

While somebody like me is an exception, most casual Internet users in their 40s and on up are not looking to have a website, own Web domains, or have custom e-mail. They are fine with their free e-mail, Facebook, and -- if so motivated -- have something easy going on at Blogger, WordPress, or Tumblr. If they do need the services GoDaddy offers, they call somebody like me to handle it all for them.

With the 18-35 portion of the NASCAR and especially IndyCar fan bases decreasing, why continue pumping money into them when that is the main age group GoDaddy or almost any such "bulk" web and domain provider needs to attract?

In addition, GoDaddy doesn't just need a makeover due to the nature of its marketing. They took a big hit in reputation over their support of the proposed SOPA and PIPA laws...remember those, the things that made many big websites on the Internet go black for a day back in January?

While the fan in me hates to ever advocate that any sponsor leave racing, in GoDaddy's case, it just might be the smartest thing they have done in many years. I would hate to see that happen to Hinch as I like him a lot even though I'm no fan of his team owner. As for Danica, I am of the opinion that, for at least another couple of years, another sponsor would have no problem with her GoDaddy legacy. After all, if the very conservative Mars company can put up with Kyle Busch after all he pulled last year, you can't tell me that somebody won't open up the checkbook for Danica.


Daly Planet Editor said...

I do think that one big change is going to be having her evaluated on results rather than exposure.

There is no pressure to win right now, only continue the same level of exposure and continue to grow the Danica brand.

If GoDaddy heads out, the real evaluation will bring in the element of having to bring home results to maintain sponsorship, like almost all the other Cup drivers.

I have been looking for a reaction from her today, but so far nothing has been published. Keep you all posted if anything updates.


Colorado said...

Trevor Bayne was leading the points at the first of the year, then has to sit out a few races, all because of sponsorship woes. He has talent, and marketabiity. Yet he sits on the bench, and Stenhouse drives an all white car with no logos, and leads the points most of the year. I don't care what she "brings" to NASCAR. If you don't bring talent, get out and go home. If I want "sex appeal", I'll go to the bar.So what if she has a half million followers on Twitter. All that tells me is she has half a million sheep,all willing to bow down to her "appeal". If SHR and Hendrick were to build two identically prepared cars, and put Danica in one, and Johanna Long in the other, Johanna will be holding the checkered flag in Victory Lane, while Patrick will still be trying to find turn 4...

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that the insulting G-D ads go away. They appear to target 12 year old boys. And they just repeat them over and over again. It's mindless. If DP has to produce results, she could be in big trouble. We already have one driver making $25 Million per year who's last win was a gas mileage race exactly 4 years ago. Oops. Wasn't Danica's only open wheel win a gas mileage race in Japan?

Anonymous said...

IF GoDaddy displeases me, I'll move my domains. Simple. I originally went with them because I was a customer of Bob Parsons since he sold software out of his basement.
Donna in FL

Charlie Spencer said...

I think Danica could survive without GoDaddy, at least at the N'wide level. As to Cup, isn't there another very popular driver who hasn't won in four years but has no trouble attracting sponsors? Junior somebody...

Keith said...

JD - Yes, I know who Rob Kauffmann is, but he wasn't around when Micheal was beginning as a driver. Mikey built a persona around himself as the NASCAR clown and the goofy little brother of a champion. He built himself as someone unique,that the public knew and recognized regardless of how lacking of talent that he was behind the wheel. Guess who that sounds like? Danica - Maybe?

You say times are different? Maybe they are, but every value doesn't have to equal for a precedent to be accurate. She is the most recognizable active race car driver in the world (even if you throw in F1 drivers). People who have never seen a race before in their lives know who she is. She is in the same marketing Q-Score numbers as Lebron, Brady, Manning, and almost every other U.S. athlete. Mikey didn't even have that and Country Time Lemonade still sponsored him.

Since you brought up MWR, I also don't believe that Aaron's would be there only for Kaufman, they are there for Waltrip. He is the face, even if someone else and MWR is running the operation. And guess what? There is nothing wrong with that.

Sorry to ruin your theory JD, but rumors of Danica's demise are greatly exagerated.

Daly Planet Editor said...


What Kauffmann brought was the money. That is my only point with Danica. Parsons and Go Daddy bring the NASCAR money.

Other than her Nationwide deal with JRM, her sponsors are not on her car.

When you stop the primary exposure of her brand on TV, you make it tough to move forward at the same level in racing.

Companies that have the funding to sponsor a Sprint Cup Series team in the US are well known. There is no secret to what pool of dollars Cup teams are chasing.

As I said in an earlier post, we may find she has a five year ironclad deal with GoDaddy. But on the flipside, if that exposure and those dollars end after this season she is going to need someone new to step-up big time.


Anonymous said...

C'mon...have you seen the $$ in exposure she has brought to GoDaddy already this year. GoDaddy's market share has grown by over 50% since they began working with Danica in 2006. There is no way GoDaddy walks away from what Danica brings them... They will simply rebrand with her involved.

77KJAX said...

Congrats John, I see you found another topic to bring out the Danica haters, you being the quasi president of the club in my opinion , even though you try to pick you words carefully. Your feelings tend to bleed thru like when you wash red socks with your good white t-shirts .....similar to our infamous New Jerseyite & her feelings for Jimmie Johnson for who knows why other than he regularly wins & beats Jeff ( who I like & respect very much ) You keep writing & I'll keep expressing my opinion , as I have in the past on this subject .... Don Simkins

Anonymous said...

I think there are many here who underestimate Patrick’s racing talent and abilities, because they are not well informed about her record. For instance:

The Indy 500 always runs 33 cars. In 2005, a rookie driving in only her fifth ever IndyCar race, she beat twenty-nine of them across the finish line.

In each of the 2006 and 2007 races she beat twenty-five of them across the finish line.

(Ryan Briscoe crashed her out of the 2008 race)

In the 2009 race she beat thirty of them across the finish line.

In 2010 she beat twenty-seven of them across the finish line.

In 2011 she beat twenty-three of them across the finish line.

And of the approximately 40 drivers competing for the IndyCar championship, only in her rookie year did she finish outside the top 10, in 12th. She improved her position every year thereafter – 9th in 2006, 7th in 2007, 6th in 2008, 5th in 2009. Only when she split her efforts between IndyCar and NASCAR did she settle for 10th in 2010 and 2011. In the 2009 championship she not only beat out each of her Andretti Autosports teammates, she was the highest ranked driver in all of IndyCar not racing for Ganassi or Penske, the two teams who have dominated IndyCar for several years.

papaserge said...

Siding with everyone else who's saying someone would step up if Danica were to lose GoDaddy after this season. There's still a lot of patches on that firesuit of hers, even if she's only bringing GoDaddy and Tissot to the table.

After all, she did just sign a deal with Sega to be featured in a video game. That's gotta mean something in the long run.

Also, people need to stop acting like she's a no-talent. She didn't win in IndyCar, but she did very well in the equipment she had. Tony Stewart didn't exactly set the world on fire when he made the transition from IndyCar to NASCAR, either. (Look at the numbers -- they're more similar than you think.)

Jerome said...

Great article John;

Amen to Buschseries61. There is a problem in the sport where true racers (Robby Gordon, Joe Nemechek) either fade away or can;t find sponsorship.

Kathy16; "I don't think Tony Stewart is going to go to this kind of trouble, sponsor or not, on someone he thinks has no talent."

No, but Tony will take a chance on someone who brings a ton of cash to the table.

The problem with Patrick is that people confuse the hype and coverage she gets with actual accomplishment. I think even she believes all that is being written and said about her, hence her entitled attitude.

I understand the new current realities of NASCAR, but I yearn for the days when rides (generally) were based on merit and drivers had to (frequently) work their way up to a quality ride, not be handed a ride based on huge sponsorship dollars.

Colorado said...

Papaserge: The reason there are alot of patches on her firesuit is simple: You have to have them on there per sponsors agreement. In fact, there are "rules" that tell you where exactly to put them on the suit. I.E. Manufacturers logos on left/right chest, etc.Those sponsors (alot of them)can be found on Joe Nemecheck's suit as well.
ANON 2:01 A.M.:Those stats are meaningless. 1 win in all her years as an Indy driver trumps points finishes, race finishes. Ask Logano in three weeks, when he's let go at Gibbs.In NASCAR, she is, was, and always will be a 30th place driver. Two races this year, Johanna Long finished ahead of her.We aren't acting like she's a no-talent. She IS a no talent.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Whether Danica or any other driver, it is sponsor dollars that keeps them on the track and competitive ...the first 'major' NASCAR deal I can recall was an STP tie-in with the King ...don't overlook the fact these are 'personal service' deals with driver name and face commanding the $$$, not always dependent upon performance will flow in and out of any situation ...ergo, the naming rights of CMS and Sears Point tracks, [oops - Sonoma] which have gone away ...interesting to say the least and entertaining, but time will tell, as we see with the #NASCAR hashtag on Twitter and subsequent ad flow's all about the $$S, except NASCAR on FOX where David Hill's immersion in the cult of personality is the only thing keeping DW on the air ...always a chase for the $$$, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I strongly believe that Danica should hire Anon 2:01 am as her publicist!! Lol. As an ex-racer, all I know is that it's almost unheard of for Danica to not finnish one to three laps down in a NNS or Cup race. Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid!! But hope springs eternal. Maybe her NNS car owner will win a cup race before I pass on.

papaserge said...

Colorado: Yes, I know there's a lot of patches on there that must be there via NASCAR mandates. But there's a decent amount on there that she certainly helped bring in. I'm sure Cole Whitt is thankful.

I realize this is staunchly an anti-Danica blog that touts Johanna Long as the best thing since sliced bread, but some of you guys commenting are acting like she's a terrible driver.

Did her looks certainly help her career? Yes. Would Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart given her opportunities if she didn't have potential? No, and Junior's been one to have the quick hook on drivers who can't perform well. What are Shane Huffman and Mark McFarland doing these days?

Lightning said...

I'm not sure what is more annoying, the Danica hype or the Danica hate..... Anyway....

There's an article on about this and Danica says she's excited to see what they come up with. I'll be happy when the current ads are gone though.

I think she'll be fine if GoDaddy does leave. She has plenty of other sponsors and I'm sure new ones would be willing to step up as well.

I'm pretty neutral when it comes to Danica now. I don't love her and I don't hate her. I'll admit that I wasn't a big fan of hers in Indycar, mainly due to her attitude. This NASCAR experience seems to have humbled her quite a bit in my opinion.

I think she has the talent to drive stock cars. She'll be much better off if she can just learn to deal with a loose race car. That seems to be her biggest issue.

Will she be successful in Cup? I don't know. I'm certainly not going to come to a conclusion based on her first three starts because plenty of successful drivers have gotten off to bad starts.

As for Johanna Long, I hope she has success. I don't think she's a measuring stick for who or who doesn't have talent though. She has beaten Travis Pastrana in most of his races. Does that mean he's a talentless hack? Of course not.

Anonymous said...

Junior had trouble funding his Nationwide team with development drivers. Most companies had little interest in sponsorship unless Junior himself was driving the car. Danica solved all that by bringing Go Daddy big money and a sponsor who wanted her in the car. End of the sponsorship problem for Junior. The question is, what will happen if the Go Daddy money goes away? How long will Junior fund her driving career if she doesn't come with sponsor dollars attached?

At SHR, Danica's dollars allowed Stewart to expand to a three car operation. He had long wanted to do that but had no sponsor for a third car. Enter Danica's Go Daddy money, and the problem is solved. How long will SHR fund a team for her if she doesn't bring major funding with her?

Roush, Hendrick, Gibbs, etc. have sometimes run unsponsored cars for a while when they really believed in the talent of a particular driver. I wonder who will fund a car for Danica without sponsorship. Her performance so far would not justify it. She has specialized in driving around, mostly staying out of trouble, and finishing laps down.

Drivers like Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski wrecked numerous cars when they began, but they were fast from the beginning. Owners say that "you can't teach speed". Success came to young drivers like Gordon and Keselowski when they learned to add patience to speed. Danica has so far shown little evidence that she can be fast in a stock car.

Danica undoubtedly has a lot of personal fans, and there are sponsors who would like to use that to sell their products. But there is a big difference between signing some kind of product endorsement deal and putting up the big bucks involved in primary sponsorship of a full time NASCAR team.

ESPN and Fox have both given her attention based on her personal identity rather than her racing performance. That has alienated many of the hard core fans who see other drivers delivering better results with second class equipment. Veteran fans are more likely to repeat the famous line from Clara Peller's ad for Wendy's : "Where's the beef?"

If the Go Daddy dollars dry up for Danica, we may get an answer to Peller's question.

Colorado said...

P.S. Since I speak from experience as far as working in NASCAR at one time, I can tell you Tony and Jr. were TOLD to hire her...

Darcie said...

Anon 2:01am, who cares how many cars she finished ahead of in any of her races? Like racers have said, second place is just the first loser. And, if Fox TV is any indication, they only tend to show the first few cars for the entire race, so once the bloom is off Danica's rose, so to speak, they won't focus on her much anymore, and that means less showing her sponsor's car. Winning is the only thing that attracts the biggest money, and not just a driver who won a single race in a diminished field on fuel mileage.

AncientRacer said...

Excellent comments from all.

I have refrained from piping up because I am neither fan nor friend of Donny Deutsch or Bob Parsons.

I am polite with Donny when we cross paths.

Mr.Parsons and I have never met.

Valerie DiFebo, however, is a top drawer addy.

Stu Elliott's #NYT piece was spot on as is yours, JD.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that Danica ran the Dover NNS race. She started 17 th and wrecked out a third of the way into the race running a lap down. Ty Dillon qualified 3 rd in his first NNS race and finished in the top 10. Ty Dillon seems to have no problem 'transitioning' from ARCA to Trucks to Nationwide.

fbu1 said...

An unintended consequence of the tug-of-war between the pro and anti Danica factions is that Johanna Long is being dragged into the media grinder as the anti Danica symbol. Ms Long appears to be a very nice young lady who has an impressive record at Saturday night race tracks. She drives for a team that can only dream of the sponsorship strength of a Go Daddy. She is just learning to walk in the NASCAR universe and then, out of nowhere, she becomes the anti Danica girl. As if she needs THAT kind of pressure while she's learning the Nationwide tracks and setups. It is an unfortunate way to draw attention. I think that she has talent and potential. I hope she has the strength to survive a situation that is not of her own making. Even better, I hope a sponsor discovers her. Go Daddy?


AncientRacer said...


Your kind words for Johanna Long much appreciated. She is a homey from Pensacola; a really nice and very talented girl with whom our Maybe We'll Get Out the Old Beater this Weekend and go Racing if We Can Find Someone to Buy Us Beer Krewe have competed with on our local tracks her whole life.

I hope a sponsor finds her, too. She deserves it.

longtimeracefan said...

Congrats JD, Danica has once again been used for feedback fodder. Superb insight. By the way, she will out do all of us and will reap rewards beyond our imaginations. Peace out, race on.

AncientRacer said...

RE: Repost: The question raised, but unanswered, in the linked article is why Sparkle Pony's Q Score has fallen 10 points and so quickly?

My initial thought/question is perhaps its because she has moved from Indycar to NASCAR and the former tends to have a sophisticated cachet while the latter (us) ... um ... does not [*belch*, scratch, *belch*] :)

DaleJr88Rulez said...

So, you're not going to write about the TV broadcasts anymore but you're going to continue to post blogs about her? This is sad to me.

GinaV24 said...

re: repost - Interesting article and if the sponsorship is only there thru 2013, what happens next? Sponsorship has been tough to find for many drivers, including Stewart and Gordon. Maybe Danica's image has simply run its course. For instance, I usually switch the channel during ads.

ancient, I love your comment. LOL, kind of amazing to me that so many people think that only rednecks follow NASCAR. Although considering how aggravating it has become, I'm beginning to think that I am just dumb to continue with it - even as the casual fan that I've become.

Anonymous said...

Of two questsions posed near the end of the original post, only one seems to have been answered. Clearly, she IS headed to a cup ride with Stewart Haas. The remaining question is how long is Go Daddy contractually obligated to sponsor her NASCAR efforts? If anyone knows the answer to that question, I'd like to hear it.

It doesn't sound to me like the new management at Go Daddy would be inclined to go beyond the obligations of her current contract. So what happens to her NASCAR career when she doesn't bring a primary sponsor with her?

Rookie seasons are hard on almost all drivers with poor results and frustration. Given Danica's personality for dealing with difficulty, 2013 doesn't seem likely to improve her Q score.

OSBORNK said...

I think Danica may prove to be just another celebrity with a good PR machine that will fade from the public unless she can perform at least somewhat up to the hype. She may become a trivia question in a few years much like some of the pop singers that were one hit wonders.

I hope she succeeds but when you have the best equipment and support available and still run in the back of the field, the popularity will fade.

It's time to put up or shut up.

Dot said...

@AncientRacer, My guess why the Princesses' Q score has dropped is because she can't drive stock cars. Yes, she has her moments, but overall she's always laps down or crashes. Maybe Go Daddy sees this too and that's why they're going in a different direction. Maybe "sex sells" isn't working anymore.

While Go Daddy is going a different direction in their marketing, a name change for their company should be made. If I were a small business owner, I wouldn't use them. When I think of Go Daddy, T&A comes to mind.

I also want to add that the Princess is not ready for full time Cup racing. She should stay in NW for another year. Just ask Joey Logano.

Fed UP said...

IMO, if GoDaddy leaves Danica without a sponsor, she WILL be out of Nascar.

With the high cost of competing, and more companies LEAVING nascar because the return just isn't there, no one is going to keep her running without someone funding her car. And I'll make that a caveat that the same situation will apply to the other drivers as well. No sponsor, no racing.

Sally said...

I find it interesting that, with all the criticism about the former Go Daddy ads being too sexy, the 'new' ads may not show as much skin, but I find them even more offensive. If this is the 'new direction' they wew taking about, they haven't changed course all that much.

Anonymous said...

"My initial thought/question is perhaps its because she has moved from Indycar to NASCAR and the former tends to have a sophisticated cachet while the latter (us) ... um ... does not [*belch*, scratch, *belch*] :)"

Or maybe the hype doesn't match the reality.

Kind of a turnoff when you have a favorite driver who consistently finishes higher than she does, but she gets all the face time.

She's at a stage where she has to produce on a consistent basis. She's better than she was, but is not as good as the hype. She needs some top 10s in Cup and top 5 in Nationwide or she'll be a "whatever happened to" in a couple of years.

I don't hate her and if I was in her shoes I would have done the same thing, but she's got to produce.

Anonymous said...

just have to say...comparing Danica to Johanna is like comparing Clint Bowyer and Elliot Sadler because they both come from towns called 'Emporia'. Compare each to their peers, not because they're both female. And Sam Hornish, Scott Speed, AJ Allmendinger...those are the real comparisons to Danica, and she doesn't stack up poorly there. Nothing to do with gender; may times it's just the indescribable 'it' that just doesn't work in a team. But to suggest that advertising strategy is equal to sponsorship is silly....Never seen a Mountain Dew Jr ad on TV. Or a National Guard ad. Her TVQ is higher than the NASCAR average. Hoards of people are buying her merchandise. While I agree her team will need to put up or shut up shortly, she is still in the learning stage, competing against people who've been doing this for 20, 30 years. It's hard for *anyone*. The hype is the media's. They need to get some perspective.

GinaV24 said...

Anon 11:32 a.m. -- if I understand it correctly Go Daddy is contractually obligated through 2013. After that, sponsorship could be an issue for her, just as it is for many other drivers - many of whom are far better at stock cars than DP.