Danica Patrick will not be moving anywhere anytime soon. The NASCAR Sprint Cup series’ only fulltime female driver announced Tuesday that she has signed a contract with Stewart-Haas Racing. Team co-owner Tony Stewart said the specific length of contracts is never revealed, but that Patrick’s is a “multi-year” contract. That extends to the deal with her new sponsor for 2016, Nature’s Bakery a nutritional snack company.
The company replaces longtime Patrick sponsor GoDaddy which has been with Patrick since her days in the IndyCar series in 2007 and became her primary sponsor when she transitioned to NASCAR in 2010. GoDaddy announced in April that it is refocusing its marketing efforts and will step away from primary sponsorship but that Patrick will remain a spokesperson. The move in the final year of her contract at SHR fueled speculation that Patrick might be moving to a different team next season. With Monday’s announcement however, Patrick will remain with the SHR for at least the near future.
“This is really the first year that I’ve had to wonder or worry what I’m going to do in the next year,” Patrick said during the sponsor reveal press conference at SHR headquarters in Huntersville North Carolina Tuesday. “I’ve been extremely fortunate in my career to not have to think about that. One deal rolled into the next. There was not a lot of concern. So I’ve had a lot of comfort over a decade.”
“But I think this is a great reminder that closing a chapter can let a new great one open, one that could be even better than you expected,” she added. “I think that’s really the way that this turned out.”
Patrick has six top-10 finishes and has led 27 laps in 105 Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to a 10-race 2012 season. She became the first woman to win the pole position for the Daytona 500, accomplishing that feat in 2013 and finishing the 500 in eighth-place, also the best ever for a female competitor at Daytona.
This season, Patrick has two top-10s finishes with a career best finish of seventh at Martinsville. Her boss Tony Stewart said Tuesday that Patrick has been a huge asset to the team.
“I think we’ve all been excited from day one,” Stewart said. “We all know what the value of Danica’s brand is. As well, watching her from her IndyCar days, I realized how big a talent she is more than a marketing tool. To have her as one of the drivers at Stewart-Haas Racing, we’re proud of her. We’re proud of her progress. We’re proud of what she does behind the racecar.”
The sponsorship came in large part to the business relationship with the Haas CNC Company. Nature’s Bakery is a new corporation to NASCAR.
We purchase Haas Automation machinery,” Dave Marson who founded the company with his son Sam in 2010 said. “We use their machinery in our company. We have our own machining and fabrication shop. We build most of our equipment to make our products. That’s what gives us a leading edge on some of our competitors. We can keep up with rapid growth. We’re not paying another company to build our stuff for us. We are doing it all in-house, vertically integrated.”