Danica Patrick’s stock car racing career got off to a roaring start after she finished sixth in her inaugural race at the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. While not exactly a NASCAR race, the results of the 80-lap ARCA race showed that Danica isn’t just a novelty item thrown into the NASCAR circus to drum up interest for the mainstream audience.
Danica’s debut at NASCAR didn’t end too well, though - she crashed out - but what was important was that she proved that she what it took to go fender-to-fender with the boys and add that to her immense popularity and you have someone companies are salivating to have their products attached to her.
Fittingly, one of the first companies to jump the Danica sponsorship bandwagon in NASCAR is Hot Wheels, a brand that’s famous for their, well, toy cars.
In addition to having their logo emblazoned on her overalls and her No. 7 Andretti Autosport car, Danica will also receive her own Hot Wheels car, which is being ingeniously labeled as the ’Danicar’, making her the first celebrity to have her own Hot Wheels car, which, incidentally, she co-designed.
Although she’s already one of the most bankable celebrity endorsers in sports today, there’s no telling how much more success Danica Patrick will have in stock car racing after her decorated career in open-wheel racing. But if she continues to pile up results like her finish at the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, then you can expect more companies to follow in Hot Wheels’ lead.
Press Release after the jump
Hot Wheels(R) Is Back in the Driver’s Seat With NASCAR
The Popular Vehicle Brand Partners With JR Motorsports to Sponsor Danica Patrick
EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb 06, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Hot Wheels(R) today announced a match made in motorsports heaven — a partnership with JR Motorsports racing team and its newest driver, Danica Patrick, as she enters the NASCAR racing circuit in 2010. Hot Wheels(R) will sponsor Patrick’s car during the Nationwide Series season, including primary sponsor placement in the August 14th race at Michigan International Speedway. Additionally, Hot Wheels(R) and Patrick are working together on other key promotional initiatives, including a special Hot Wheels(R) vehicle designed by Patrick herself.
"Speed, power and performance and the ultimate race car — that is what connects Hot Wheels, JR Motorsports and Danica," said Simon Waldron, vice president, Wheels Marketing at Mattel. "Our partnership provides a real world association between our brand and the biggest names in racing, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them in 2010."
The announcement was made today at the Daytona International Speedway, where Patrick unveiled graphic renderings of the custom die-cast vehicle she co-designed with the Hot Wheels(R) team at the Mattel Design Center in El Segundo, Calif. Patrick’s "Danicar" is the first celebrity-designed Hot Wheels(R) vehicle and will be made in the traditional 1:64 scale.
"My life is all about high velocity cars, and the only car company I could imagine being able to create my vision of the ultimate fantasy car is Hot Wheels," said Danica Patrick. "On the track, I am looking forward to speeding towards the finish line in true Hot Wheels style."
The "Danicar" takes its cues from elements found in race car styles and is truly an awesome machine — the fullness of the car’s back-end and the overall wedge-shape with an open cockpit, respectively. From the chartreuse-yellow Spectraflame(R) paint, to three sets of different size wheels, and adjustable wings on the front and back — all are elements that Patrick and the Hot Wheels(R) design team collaborated on during her visit. This exclusive car will be available at retailers across the U.S. beginning in October 2010.
Since its inception more than 40 years ago, Hot Wheels(R) has had a long-standing history with the automotive racing world — from sponsoring the Snake and Mongoose rivalry of the NHRA(R) to sponsoring Jack Baldwin’s car in the 1992 Trans-Am Championship to a Kyle Petty NASCAR sponsorship during the ’90s, plus an exclusive line of die-cast models for NASCAR.
About the Hot Wheels(R) Brand
Hot Wheels(R) cars revolutionized boys’ toys in 1968 with an original line of super-fast, customized cars built for speed, power, performance and attitude. Now, more than 40 years later, Hot Wheels(R) is a global lifestyle brand that represents the coolest cars imaginable in scales from miniature to full-size. Hot Wheels(R) cars are also popular collectibles for adults and each year, introduces a new line-up of innovative vehicles, track sets and playsets.
About Mattel, Inc.
Mattel, Inc., (NASDAQ:MAT) (www.mattel.com) is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. The Mattel family is comprised of such best-selling brands as Barbie(R), the most popular fashion doll ever introduced, Hot Wheels(R), Matchbox(R), American Girl(R), Radica(R) and Tyco(R) R/C, as well as Fisher-Price(R) brands, including Little People(R), Power Wheels(R) and a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines. In 2009, Mattel is recognized among the "100 Best Corporate Citizens," as one of the "World’s Most Ethical Companies" and as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s "100 Best Companies to Work For." With worldwide headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel employs approximately 30,000 people in 43 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 nations. Mattel’s vision is to be the world’s premier toy brands — today and tomorrow.
© 2010 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
About JR Motorsports
JR Motorsports is the management company and racing operation for Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s seven-time Most Popular Driver and winner of more than 40 NASCAR-sanctioned races. JR Motorsports competes in multiple racing divisions, including the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In 2008 JRM enjoyed a breakout season with four Nationwide Series victories between its two teams. The company followed suit with four more wins in 2009. The JR Motorsports facilities are based out of Mooresville, N.C., and include the JR Nation retail store, Hammerhead Entertainment, and DEJ Realty.