Move over, Pepsi, here comes something new from the folks at Coke.
Danica Patrick is joining the Coca-Cola Racing Family, directly branded with Coke Zero in the Sprint Cup Series, joining Stewart-Haas team owner Tony Stewart as the primary drivers in the soft drink company portfolio. The deal will be announced Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, according to the company, before Patrick races in the Coca-Cola 600 on Saturday, her third Sprint Cup race this season.
Pepsi Co. has three of the highest-profile drivers in NASCAR with Jimmie Johnson (Gatorade), Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Still, Patrick has been the most recognizable driver on the circuit in her first full-time season in NASCAR. Patrick was in the Forbes Top 100 celebrities list recently but didn't have an anchor sponsor with the broad, universal appeal of Coke. The iconic beverage brand should only amplify her reach off the track, even if it has no effect on it.
"She's an extremely appealing figure for Coke Zero because she basically represents everything the brand does," said Sharon Byers, senior vice president for sports and entertainment at Coca-Cola. "It's one of our biggest growing brands. Her appeal to young adult men is the exact consumer base that we want to connect."
Patrick will continue to be sponsored by GoDaddy and Peak Performance, among others, on the Nationwide Series.