DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Did Danica Patrick’s string of 10 straight appearances in Super Bowl commercials for sponsor GoDaddy.com actually come to an end this year?
It depends on how you look at it.
“I was definitely disappointed I wasn’t in the Super Bowl for a commercial, but I was in a Super Bowl commercial — it just didn’t run,” Patrick said on Thursday during NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway.
The ad starring Patrick, which featured a story about a golden retriever puppy, was pulled by GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving after protests from animal rights organizations. In the commercial, which previewed on NBC’s “Today” show, the puppy falls off the back of a truck and ultimately finds his way home to an owner waiting to sell him.
“GoDaddy had every intention to run that commercial,” said Patrick, who has appeared in 13 GoDaddy Super Bowl spots overall. “We thought it was a really funny, slightly left-side joke, but it really was not intentional (in creating controversy). So, was I surprised? I don’t think anything in this culture surprises me anymore.
“People have opinions about everything, especially when you get into that world of animal rights, tree rights or whatever rights. They all have an opinion. I feel like Blake handled it as great as he could have. I feel like he made the most of the moment and showed the character of GoDaddy and of himself and said, ‘Fine. We’re not here to rock the boat. We’re not here to make people angry, and we’ll pull the commercial and run something else.’”
Patrick is in a contract year with both GoDaddy and Stewart-Haas Racing, but on media day she displayed little sense of urgency when asked if she was close to an extension of her deal.
“It’s frigging February, buddy,” Patrick demurred. “It’s really a matter of cart and horse. It’s sponsor and team.
“Both are happy, so it’s a matter of getting GoDaddy in a place where they’re happy and committing to something, and from my understanding, the team wants that, too, and it’s just a matter of time.”