Danica, Carpenter To Team For 500 Finale

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 7 2018

Danica Patrick’s scheduled last ride will be in an Indy car fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing.

Danica Patrick, still the only woman to win an Indy car race, will conclude her motorsports career at the venue where she launched “Danicamania” 13 years ago by driving for Ed Carpenter Racing during the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

Patrick will wheel the No. 13 Chevrolet for ECR with sponsorship from longtime partner GoDaddy Inc., the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures.

The Indy 500 will be the second half of the “Danica Double,” as Patrick completed her NASCAR Cup Series career in the 2018 season-opening Daytona 500 last month. “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will mark her return to the Verizon® IndyCar Series, where Patrick scored 63 top-10 finishes over a seven-year career before moving to stock car racing in 2012.

Patrick started fourth, led 19 laps and finished fourth during the 2005 Indy 500 driving for Rahal Letterman Racing and team-owner Bobby Rahal, the 1986 race-winner.  After passing Patrick for the lead late in the race Dan Wheldon’s victory for Andretti Green Racing largely was overshadowed by “Danicamania,” as the gender-breaking result raised her profile to superstar status and brought a young and diverse audience to open-wheel racing.

Englishman Wheldon later contributed to the hoopla by donning a t-shirt for the series’ next event at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth that read, “I Actually Won the Indy 500.”

“I love how everything is coming full-circle,” Patrick, 35, said in a statement confirming the deal on Wednesday. “I’m going to close-out my racing career at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the place where so many amazing things have happened for me. I’m back in GoDaddy green and joining a great team. Ed Carpenter Racing is consistently competitive at Indy. I can’t think of a better way to finish-out my racing career than at the Indianapolis 500 with this team and GoDaddy.”

Carpenter is the only driver/owner competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. One of the most experienced oval-track drivers in the field, 2018 will mark Carpenter’s 16th season of Indy car competition and seventh year of team ownership. ECR has qualified a car on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 four of the past five years, including Carpenter’s back-to-back pole positions in 2013 and 2014 and his second-place qualifying effort in 2017.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity _ to be the team to power Danica in her final race, and to do it together here in Indianapolis is especially significant for ECR,” Carpenter said. “When you consider the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is where Danica first made her mark in racing, it’s easy to see why this is the perfect way for her to end her career.”

Patrick’s victory in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in April 2008 while driving for Andretti Green Racing remains the only win by a woman in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Patrick also has compiled an impressive resume at the 2.5-mile Speedway. She was the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 en route to earning Rookie of the Year honors. In seven Indy 500 starts Patrick has earned six top-10 finishes, qualified on the second row in 2008 and finished third in 2009.

Patrick also chose the car number _ the “unlucky” 13 _ for her final Indy 500 start. “Back in the day, the color green was also said to be bad luck in racing,” said Patrick, referencing her sponsor’s bright green livery. “I think it’s cool. I’m a firm believer that superstitions are only real if you believe them.”

Indianapolis-based ECR has brought an all-American driver lineup to the Indianapolis 500 since its inception in 2012. Patrick, of Roscoe, Ill., will join two teammates to complete the team’s three-car lineup. Indianapolis native and hometown favorite Carpenter will drive the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet in his 15th Indy 500. Spencer Pigot of Orlando, Fla., will be competing in his third Indy 500 and first with ECR in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet.

At the conclusion of Patrick’s racing career in May, GoDaddy will continue to support her by powering the online presence for her business endeavors related to health, apparel and wine.

“Let there be no question about Danica’s ability to go out with a win at what is arguably the most recognized race in the world,” said Barb Rechterman, GoDaddy executive vice president/chief marketing officer. “The best parts of all this for us is Danica’s moxie, her commitment and her ability to compete at the highest levels of a male-dominated sport.

“Now that she’s on the verge of retiring to pursue her own businesses and entrepreneurial interests fulltime, like so many of our customers, we are aligned better than any time in our decade-plus long relationship. It’s all so poetic from our perspective.”

Patrick is scheduled to test the No. 13 car during a Chevrolet manufacturer test at IMS on March 29. Official practice for the Indy 500 is booked to begin on May 15.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 7 2018
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