(Reuters) - Danica Patrick will need a new sponsor to continue racing next year as GoDaddy Inc said on Wednesday it is dropping sponsorship of her car at Stewart-Haas Racing and leaving NASCAR at the end of the 2015 season.
Patrick, one of NASCAR’S most high-profile drivers, has been sponsored by GoDaddy since 2007 and the Internet domain name service said it is negotiating to keep Patrick as a spokeswoman under a personal services agreement.
“We love Danica and all she does to empower and inspire people, especially women, which is why we are working to keep her in the GoDaddy family,” GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer Phil Bienert said in a statement.
“NASCAR has been a tremendous domestic platform ... but at this stage, we need a range of marketing assets that reach a more globally-diverse set of customers.”
Patrick is in the midst of her best Sprint Cup Series to date with two top-10 finishes that have given her the record for most top-10s by a woman in NASCAR’s top series, with six.
She signed with GoDaddy for the 2007 IndyCar season and in 2008 became the first woman to win an IndyCar race.
GoDaddy helped transition Patrick into NASCAR, as her primary sponsor, starting with the Xfinity Series and then moving into Sprint Cup full-time in 2013.
She is one of 14 elite drivers who have led laps at both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.
Patrick was a fixture in Super Bowl ads for GoDaddy until her 2015 commercial for the company, which showed a puppy falling out of a truck, was pulled after pressure from animal rights groups.
“GoDaddy has been an incredible partner for a very long time, almost nine years, and as I’ve said before, our brands have really grown up together,” said Patrick.
“I’m excited to work with GoDaddy on a personal level moving forward, but will miss having their bright green color on my racecar next year,” said Patrick.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Larry Fine