Danica Patrick stays with SHR; new sponsor Nature's Bakery

Danica Patrick stays with SHR; new sponsor Nature's Bakery

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Danica Patrick's fit and healthy lifestyle has landed her a new sponsor that will allow her to continue driving for Stewart-Haas Racing.

SHR announced a deal Tuesday with Nature's Bakery to become the primary sponsor of Patrick's No. 10 Chevrolet beginning next season. The Nevada-based food brand replaces Patrick's longtime sponsor, GoDaddy.

Nature's Bakery will place its signature tagline, "Energy for Life's Great Journeys" on Patrick's car for 28 of the 38 Sprint Cup events.

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"Our brands align so perfectly, it's amazing," Patrick said.

Company founder Dave Marson said Patrick, one of the most recognizable athletes in the world with successful crossover between sports and entertainment, fits the Nature's Bakery brand.

"All you need to say is 'Danica' and people know exactly who you're talking about," Marson added. "She has immersed herself and succeeded in a very intense sport and been recognized for her efforts."

Much of Patrick's marketability was built during a long partnership with GoDaddy that began in 2007. The Internet domain giant has been her main backer since the 2010 IndyCar season when she was with Andretti Autosport. GoDaddy then followed her to NASCAR.

But the company said in April that this third Sprint Cup season with Patrick would be its last in NASCAR, which forced Patrick to worry about funding her racing career for the first time in probably a dozen years.

GoDaddy's sponsorship agreement was in line with Patrick's contract with SHR, and both deals ran only through the 2015 season. The loss of funding meant SHR needed a replacement sponsor in order to keep Patrick, who could also have tried to sign with another Cup team.

She wanted to remain at SHR, with co-owner Tony Stewart, reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, and seemed confident that her marketability and appeal to such a wide audience would help land a sponsor that fit her own brand.

"I really feel like family here, and this is where I want to be, and I really am fortunate that I didn't have to look anywhere else," she said of remaining at SHR.

Patrick said representing Nature's Bakery, a company new to NASCAR, is "a great deal of responsibility."

"They have ambitious goals and they're going to rely on me and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing to deliver," she said. "I have ambitious goals, too. It's why I came to NASCAR and, specifically, to Stewart-Haas Racing. There's still a lot I want to achieve in this sport and I'm looking to continue my professional journey with a brand as determined as I am."

Patrick has 105 starts at NASCAR's top level, with six career top-10 finishes. She won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013, and is currently a career-best 21st in the standings.

She's twice led laps in the Indianapolis 500, finished a career-best third in that race in 2011 and won her only IndyCar race in 2008, in Japan.

"Danica has proven she belongs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we're very happy to have her a part of our team for years to come," said Stewart. "Nature's Bakery is a natural fit with Danica. She has played an important role in the growth of all the businesses associated with her and our growth as a race team."

Nature's Bakery was founded in 2010 by the father-and-son duo of Dave and Sam Marson. Its deal with Patrick means no more neon green paint for her No. 10.

"I feel like that's a really good color for me, it's going to be really good for my complexion," Patrick said of her new blue-and-white Chevrolet.

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