NEW YORK (AP) — Danica Patrick is the most successful woman to get behind the wheel of a race car, but on Super Bowl Sunday, she’s the girl in the GoDaddy commercials. Having done a dozen ads for the web-hosting company, the 31-year NASCAR driver has another planned for Sunday’s game.
Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 in 2008, becoming the first female winner in IndyCar history, and placed third in the 2009 Indy 500. She switched to NASCAR a few years ago and now drives the No. 10 car for Stewart-Haas Racing. But she’s had a tough time behind the wheel and became the punch line for jokes at the NASCAR awards banquet last December from host Jay Mohr. The audience didn’t approve and let him know it. Still, it upset Patrick.
She talked about the Mohr incident and whether she will race IndyCar again in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
AP: Will you ever go back to IndyCar?
Patrick: I think the further I get away from when I ran full-time IndyCar, the further away I get from wanting to do it. Because I had such great memories from the Indy 500, and I had such great races and I would never want anything to take away from that and I would never want to be one of those people who retires and comes back and is not the same. So if I don’t have an opportunity to win, I won’t do it.
AP: Hitting celebrity status can set you up for attacks. I know something was said by host Jay Mohr at the NASCAR awards banquet. How do you handle that?
Patrick: I think every now and again the public puts you in your place a little bit and I think that is OK. I mean, every now and again you need to be reminded of certain things and always be on your toes, but on the other hand, there are so many times where people say things that are on target, and I think it allows a really great platform for other people to fight the good fight for you, and especially from a journalistic perspective, there are a lot of people who tend to write the opposite kind of article as to why something somebody said is wrong and usually about something being negative. I like it, if people are talking about you, it’s good.
AP: You’ve had a long run with Super Bowl commercials. How has that affected your career?
Patrick: It’s tough to quantify what GoDaddy has done for me as a brand and for the awareness of me, especially with the Super Bowl spots with 100 million people watching every time, and there is now going to be the 13th commercial, that is pretty unbelievable.
AP: Do you see yourself as a role model?
Patrick: No, but it’s the situation I’m in. I don’t do things to try and be a role model, it just happened. I guess that’s the best way. I feel it’s one of the neatest roles that come along with being in the position that I’m in, and I don’t take that for granted.
AP: Do you drive fast when you’re not on the track?
Patrick: I do, I drive very fast on the street. Too fast.
Follow AP Entertainment producer John Carucci on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci