February 6, 2010: Danica Patrick, who is in the process of adding ARCA and Nascar to her IndyCar resume, has also added a new sponsor - Mattel's Hot Wheels. The popular toy brand has signed a deal with JR Motorsports racing team and will sponsor Patrick’s car during her 12 Nascar Nationwide Series events, including primary sponsor placement in the Aug. 14 race at Michigan International Speedway.
Mattel did not reveal whether Patrick would appear in marketing efforts but say they are working together on other "key promotional initiatives." Financial terms were not disclosed.
The alliance builds on a relationship from 2009 when Hot Wheels created a line of IndyCar products featuring the vehicles of Patrick, Mario Andretti and others.
The partnership was unveiled at the Daytona International Speedway, site of Patrick's first ARCA stock car race on Feb. 6 in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. Patrick finished sixth in the race, then huddled with team members at JR Motorsports, and a decision was made that she would make her Nationwide Series debut on Feb. 13, again at the Daytona Internationals Speedway. Nascar's Daytona 500 will be held the next day.
“Racing in the Nationwide Series race was my goal during this entire two-month preparation process, but we wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do,” Patrick said in a statement. “The ARCA race was a blast . . . I want more racing.”
Mattel also unveiled graphic renderings of a custom die-cast vehicle Patrick co-designed with the Hot Wheels team at the Mattel Design Center in El Segundo, Calif. Mattel said that Patrick’s “Danicar” is the first celebrity-designed Hot Wheels vehicle and will be made in the traditional 1:64 scale. The item will be available at retail in October.
“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,” Patrick said in a statement “On the track, I am looking forward to speeding towards the finish line in true Hot Wheels style.”
Patrick's other marketing partners include Go Daddy and Tissot. Analysts put her annual endorsement earnings at about $8-$10 million, putting her at the higher end among women athletes along with Maria Sharapova and Venus and Serena Williams.