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The Journal Gazette

  • Driver Danica Patrick walks away from her car in her garage after she had engine problems and left the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 8:05 pm

Hinch feeling the heat after Danica's Daytona 500

By JENNA FRYERAP Auto Racing Writer

James Hinchcliffe is feeling the heat after fellow GoDaddy driver Danica Patrick's strong showing in the Daytona 500.

Patrick started from the pole, became the first woman in history to lead laps in the Daytona 500 and finished eighth.

Now Hinchcliffe, who started second last year in the Indianapolis 500 in his first season with GoDaddy sponsorship, is wondering what he has to do to top that performance.

"I thought starting second at the Indy 500 was a big deal, but she's kind of outdone me," Hinchcliffe said Wednesday. "I guess we'll have to do one better this year in May. It's great. She hit the ground running this season in Cup, and she had a great race in the 500 to finish where she did.

"With the attention that she brings and the success that she's having early, I think it adds a little bit of pressure to hold up my end of the bargain inside the GoDaddy family."

Hinchcliffe took over Patrick's ride at Andretti Autosport when she left IndyCar for NASCAR after the 2011 season. The partnership with GoDaddy proved to be a good fit with Hinchcliffe's outgoing personality, and he and Patrick teamed in a commercial shoot and campaign for the rights to be featured on the company web page.

But Patrick remained GoDaddy's primary spokesperson, and was featured in both Super Bowl commercials.

Still, Hinchcliffe loves the relationship and said the marketing push should increase this season, his second with Andretti and GoDaddy.

"It's one of the coolest companies I've had the privilege of working with. They really get it. They really get business. They get sport. They get marketing," he said. "We've had a lot of fun in the last 12 months doing some of the things that we did and the trouble we got ourselves into. And GoDaddy being GoDaddy, there is going to be some stuff in the works this year. Can't give away too much, but we've got some more fun things planned, a lot of it based around the internet and social media, and there is a big push in Canada this year as well. So you'll definitely be seeing a lot of greetings throughout the season."