Andretti to replace GoDaddy as sponsor on 27 car
Fontana, Calif. • Andretti Autosport will announce a new primary sponsor Saturday to replace GoDaddy next season on the car currently driven by James Hinchcliffe.
Andretti gave no indication Friday on the progression of contract talks with Hinchcliffe, who with three wins this season gave GoDaddy its most successful season on track in its seven years with the organization.
GoDaddy joined Andretti as an associate sponsor for Danica Patrick in 2007, and the website domain provider became the primary sponsor on her car in 2010. GoDaddy moved with Patrick to NASCAR that season when she began dabbling in the Nationwide Series, and the company followed her there when she made a full-time move to the Sprint Cup Series.
But GoDaddy also stayed in IndyCar with Andretti, which planned to replace Patrick with Dan Wheldon prior to Wheldon's death in the 2011 season finale.
Hinchcliffe then got the No. 27 car and quickly developed into an IndyCar fan favorite off the track last season.
He turned it up on the track this season, winning his first career IndyCar race in the season-opener at St. Petersburg. Hinchcliffe later won in Brazil and Iowa.
Despite Hinchcliffe's success, GoDaddy has publicly said it was undecided on its future in IndyCar amid reports the company was pulling out.
With the season ending Saturday at Auto Club Speedway and Hinchcliffe on the free agent market, team owner Michael Andretti apparently felt he couldn't wait any longer and announced Friday he'd reveal a new sponsor before the race.
GoDaddy was scheduled to inform Andretti and The Associated Press of its 2014 plans on Wednesday but canceled that day, telling AP a conflict in CEO Blake Irving's schedule required the company to reschedule. Irving was expected to reveal GoDaddy's decision on Friday.
Irving, who took over as CEO of GoDaddy in January, said recently at the IndyCar race at Toronto that racing remained a valuable venue for GoDaddy, and that Hinchcliffe and Patrick were both strong brand ambassadors.
But Irving also said his long-term vision for GoDaddy was taking the company global next year, with an emphasis on World Cup and reaching Latin American markets.