Here comes Danica, she joins Tebow and Lin in media popularity among the biggest sports brands, NBA, MLB and of course NASCAR. Who will become the biggest brand among these emerging stars?
Since we are on the eve of Danica’s biggest event in her career, lets take a look at her in more detail. She is currently the leader as far as becoming a brand and the leveraging of sponsorship and licensing.
Patrick’s Cup debut comes after a complicated transaction that guaranteed her a spot in Sunday’s race. The deal, which essentially gave her another team’s points from last season and allowed her to enter based on that, was similar to other deals cut this year and in past seasons. But Patrick’s arrangement drew outsized attention, and many fans howled that it was unfair.
It’s nothing new for Patrick, who has compared the polarizing nature of her popularity to that of Tim Tebow. There were snits in IndyCar with drivers who complained that she dominated the spotlight despite results that paled compared with those of other stars, and a fiery (some might say petulant) side often emerges when she feels wronged, which has caused tangles with rivals and her own team.
There have been no such incidents in NASCAR, and the early reception has been welcoming. Prominent Cup driver Kyle Busch, who also owns a Nationwide Series team, says Patrick has talent and deserves the spot.
“People ask, ‘Is she given too much attention for not being successful?’ I’d admit, ‘Yes she has been, but it’s great for our sport,’ ” Busch says.
Earnhardt Jr. says the interest in Patrick stems from “a dynamic edge to her personality. She’s assertive and determined. That’s exciting, especially coming from a woman. It’s very rare in this sport, so it’s very intriguing to people. Everyone — some more than they want to admit — wants to see her do well and succeed, because they want to see what the results are, not necessarily for her but what does that do for the sport.”
In the Q Score ratings, which measure the consumer appeal of athletes, celebrities and brands, Patrick has the highest ranking of all active drivers. In the Davie-Brown Index, which rates a celebrity’s ability to influence consumer behavior, she has ranked third among drivers behind four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon and Earnhardt Jr.
Patrick, whose one IndyCar victory made her the first woman to win a major league oval race, will be a long shot to win in the Cup Series after Daytona. At Daytona, though, there has been a history of unlikely champions, including Trevor Bayne, who won last year in his second career Cup race. And in her first full season in the Nationwide Series, as a member of a premier team, she likely will become the junior circuit’s highest-finishing woman ever. That would be a boon to her “Beautiful Revolution” brand created by IMG (a global sports, fashion, marketing and media giant that does work for dozens of high-profile athletes, including Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning).
“It’s about being different and unique and doing something that’s never been done before, but doing it as a girl and looking good while doing it,” Patrick said. “And it being a really beautiful thing that it’s happening.”
“Team Danica” consists of two IMG agents (Alan Zucker and Mark Dyer) who handle her racing contracts and endorsement deals, two CPAs who manage her money, a personal assistant who coordinates her harried life in a color-coded grid and a bus driver who pilots the posh mobile home where she’ll stay for at least 70 nights around the country this year. She doesn’t make major decisions without consulting her husband of six years who built a physical therapy business in Scottsdale, Ariz., with a high-profile client roster of professional athletes. It’s a much smaller payroll than many Cup drivers who have staffs in the double digits.
“We run a pretty tight ship,” Patrick said. “We’re pretty lean and mean for the amount of business and the scope of things that need to be done.”
Driver4COPD 300 Race Pre-Report
“Anytime someone asks what it will take to be a success in my first fulltime year in stock cars, it’s really a trick question for me. It’s hard for me to give an answer because I don’t want to feel like I’ve failed anyone or myself. It’s very much about each weekend in and of itself. It’s about where you’re at going into the race and what you feel like you’re capable of. If you can live up to, or exceed that, then it’s a great weekend.
“But for sure, I’d really like to get to victory lane. I want to win in the Nationwide Series. That will definitely help me feel like a success. Running up front and running consistent, and being in the top-five or top-10 all season long is a realistic goal.”
“Racing around Daytona is something you dream about as a kid growing up. And here I am with an opportunity to be in a JR Motorsports Chevrolet with Tony Eury Sr. as a crew chief, and the number 88 on the side panels. It really is a dream come true for me. Now it’s my job to make something happen with our Hellmann’s Chevrolet.
“I’m more confident than anything heading into Daytona. I just need the season to start so I can stop beating my head against the wall during the off weekends. I just want to go racing.
“The drafting at Daytona in the Nationwide cars will also be new for me. With Dale Jr.’s coaching to lean on, I think I should pick it up fairly quickly.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR.
“I’m looking forward to working with Bruce Cook for the first time. He came to JR Motorsports in the off-season and has made a big impact already, just in working with Tony Sr. and Tony Jr. in getting our cars faster. He’s a level-headed guy, and he’s obviously had a lot of success. He won this race with Tony Stewart last year, so he knows how to get around Daytona.
“I go into these (NNS) races with only one mindset � that’s to win. I want to win for TaxSlayer. Those guys are great partners of ours. To get their car to Victory Lane would be pretty awesome.
“I’m not sure what type of drafting to expect. Obviously these cars are a different package than the Cup cars. Either way I expect to be fast and go to the front.”
WHITT THE NEWEST ADDITION – The offseason was an eventful one for JRM. The team’s latest addition brings 20-year-old Cole Whitt into the fold. Whitt, a native of Alpine, Calif., embarks on his debut season piloting JRM’s flagship No. 88 Chevrolet. He’ll compete for the season championship and rookie-of-the-year honors in 2012.
THREE-CAR LINEUP FOR TEAM JRM – JR Motorsports has three teams entered for Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt combine to give the organization three entries in the season opener for the second consecutive year.
WELCOME DANICA FULL-TIME – After completing 25 races in NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) competition through the previous two seasons, 2012 will see Patrick drive the circuit fulltime. She’ll compete in 33 NNS events this year, including a notable start at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this summer.
LOOKING TO TIE THE LEGEND AT DAYTONA – Six NNS wins at Daytona give both Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart the most among active drivers. The two trail the overall leader, Earnhardt Sr. by just one win. In both Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series competition Earnhardt Jr. owns 18 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, with two poles and 917 laps led at the facility.
GET TO KNOW COLE WHITT – Whitt comes to JRM fresh off his first full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He concluded 2011 with two top-five, 11 top-10 finishes and one pole (Darlington) en route to a ninth-place finish in the championship points. In 2006, he claimed the USAC rookie of the year title. Two years later he won the USAC National Championship, becoming the youngest national champion.
DAYTONA FRONT RUNNER – In the past 14 NNS races at Daytona, Earnhardt Jr. ranks in the top-five in the following categories according to NASCAR Statistical Services: laps in top-15 (ranked fourth at 77.3%), green-flag passes (ranked fifth with 1,233), fastest laps run (ranked first with 78). In the past three restrictor plate races he’s driven, Earnhardt Jr. has one win (Daytona, 2010), two top-five and three top-10 finishes. He’s led 49 laps with an average finish of 4.3.
EARNHARDT FAMILY AT DAYTONA – The Earnhardt family owns 47 wins at the historic 2.5-mile speedway. Earnhardt Sr. secured 34 wins, with Earnhardt Jr. supplying 13 victories to the list.
BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK WINS IN SEASON OPENER – Earnhardt Jr. earned three consecutive victories from 2002 through 2004 in the Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona. Averaging a starting position of 4.6, Earnhardt Jr. led a total of 173 laps in those events.
JRM AUTOGRAPH SIGNINGS – Don’t miss the opportunity to meet JRM’s newest driver Cole Whitt. Whitt will sign autographs at the JR Nation merchandise hauler, located in the fan concourse area at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. EST.
NEW DALE JR.COM UNVEILED – JR Motorsports unveiled last week the new official site of Dale Earnhardt Jr., www.dalejr.com. The completely redesigned and overhauled site is packed full of interactive content, including an all-new video series entitled “On the Run with Dale Jr.”, an insider’s look at the complex and hectic world of NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver. Also included are exclusive photo galleries, news, and information on Dale Jr.’s personal interests. Fans can also relive the glory of Earnhardt Jr.’s Sprint Cup victories through a career timeline, featuring detailed descriptions on each win.
FIVE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY FOR THE DALE JR. FOUNDATION – This year marks a milestone for The Dale Jr. Foundation (TDJF), marking the fifth year since its founding. Since 2007, the TDJF has offered support to communities both locally and nationally, focusing on hunger, education, empowerment, wellness and hope. In honor of five years of giving, TDJF is asking supporters to donate $5 this year and help reach even more families and individuals in need. For more information and to make a contribution visit www.thedalejrfoundation.org.
Danica Sue Patrick (born March 25, 1982) is an American auto racing driver, model and advertising spokeswoman. She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, being the only woman to win in the IndyCar Series as well as holding the highest finish by a woman at the Indianapolis 500 of 3rd place. She competed in the series from 2005 to 2011. She currently competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Starting in kart racing, she later raced Formula Ford in England before moving back to the US and moving up to IndyCars. Patrick was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. With her win in the 2008 Indy Japan 300, Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy car race. She placed 3rd in the 2009 Indianapolis 500, which was both a personal best for her at the track, and the highest finish by a woman in the event’s history. Patrick holds the IRL record for most consecutive races running at the finish. As of October 2, 2011, she has completed 50 consecutive races in the running (the next highest total in the record book is 32). During her time in IndyCar, Patrick drove for Rahal Letterman Racing from 2005–2006, and Andretti Autosport from 2007-2011.
In 2010, Patrick began racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, driving the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Impala for JR Motorsports part-time. She also has an equity stake in her #7 team. She had her best career finish of 4th in series on March 5, 2011 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway—the best finish by a woman in a NASCAR top-circuit.
Here comes Danica, she joins Tebow and Lin in media popularity among the biggest sports brands, NBA, MLB and of course NASCAR.
Who do you think will become the biggest brand among these emerging media and sports stars?