Who will fill the void in Danica Patrick’s sponsor lineup?


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – A striking new blue was revealed Tuesday as the paint scheme for Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet in 28 Sprint Cup races next year.

What colors will the car have for the remainder of the 2016 season? Likely some comfortably familiar shades.

Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood said Tuesday the team is working to fill the eight-race gap on Patrick’s car next season with the same companies that have shared space on the hood with GoDaddy the past two seasons. Nature’s Bakery was announced as Patrick’s new primary sponsor in a multiyear deal starting in 2016.

“We’re working through the final solutions on that, and hopefully we’ll have some upcoming announcements,” Frood said. “Those current partners, it’s worked well, so we hope to continue that.

GoDaddy, which announced in May that it wouldn’t be renewing its primary sponsorship after this season, funded all of Patrick’s races during her 2013 rookie season in Sprint Cup but had sold off a handful the past two years to Aspen Dental and TaxAct.

Frood indicated that both companies could return next year, possibly in slightly larger roles. TaxAct already had increased its investment this season, buying the hood for Patrick’s race at Texas after she finished seventh in the company’s car the previous week at Martinsville Speedway.

“For us, it’s just figuring out partners that make sense where we can help elevate their business and at the same time make sure we can be as competitive as possible and have the resources to continue going fast,” Frood said.

The new deal with Nature’s Bakery grew out of the burgeoning company’s business with Haas Automation, which was founded by SHR co-owner Gene Haas. Nature’s Bakery buys machinery from Haas, which helped sparked discussions about the NASCAR sponsorship.

Though the NASCAR sponsorship was completed independently of the Haas products, Frood said the deal wouldn’t have happened without the business connection.

“The fact they have Haas machines building their bakery equipment was unique,” he said. “It helped they were NASCAR fans and knew the personalities and had some experience of watching Danica and her marketing power and Stewart-Haas from a performance standpoint, but ultimately it came down to a relationship with their local Haas liaison that started the conversation.”

Nature’s Bakery was founded in 2010 and is relatively small compared to the Fortune 500 companies that adorn most cars in NASCAR’s premier series. The annual revenues for the Reno, Nev.-based company have been estimated at $100 million annually – a fraction of the annual billion-dollar sales of sponsors such as GoDaddy.

“You can look at the size of our company and say we’re the up‑and‑coming guy who is going to be the next Fortune 500 company, and that’s what we plan on being,” said Dave Marson, who founded the company with his son, Sam. “We’re taking and leveraging this opportunity with NASCAR, the NASCAR fan base, to look at our products and to grow and become one of those Fortune 500 companies.

“We thank Stewart‑Haas Racing and Danica for believing us.  We came to them with an idea and a dream.  We said, ‘We are the new up‑and‑coming company.  Look at us and we’ll show you what we can do.’  They believed in us.”

Frood said Nature’s Bakery might seem “small from a revenue standpoint, but they are looking to be a big player. We hope to bring them into retailers across the United States.”