News & Media

Patrick added to Coca-Cola family in style

May 11, 2012, Andrew Shain, Special to NASCAR.COM,

The Coca-Cola Racing Family is no longer a boys club. Danica Patrick has joined the eight-man crew and will pitch Coke Zero.

She arrived at a news conference Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway driving a red Chevrolet Impala race car emblazoned with the new Coca-Cola 600 logo in front of the large video screen along the backstretch. In a display that anything is possible, Patrick drove the car wearing high-heeled Christian Louboutin pumps.

Coca-Cola Family

Greg Biffle
Jeff Burton
Denny Hamlin
Bobby Labonte
Joey Logano
Jamie McMurray
Ryan Newman
Danica Patrick
Tony Stewart

She was joined on stage by Stewart-Haas teammate and Coca-Cola Family member Ryan Newman where they joked about trying to survive NASCAR's longest race of the season. The Charlotte race is one of 10 she will compete in this year before joining the Sprint Cup Series full time in 2013.

Newman told Patrick about needing to be "patiently aggressive," staying on the lead lap while not using up the car and over taxing yourself.

Patrick confirmed with Newman some drivers have snacks in the car: "You're going to have to keep your focus and keep well hydrated -- and maybe well fed."

Speedway president Marcus Smith suggested she try a couple of treats from trackside stands -- funnel cake with bacon and chocolate and strawberry sauce or a deep-fried cupcake on a stick. He also offered more healthy fare from the Danica Patrick Fit Fuel stand that debuted last year serving veggie and fruit cups and veggie burgers.

"People are either going to love or hate me for that one," Patrick said.

Smith said sales rose 30 percent at the stand after changing it from selling burgers and fries.

Then after delivering the beverage's catchphrase, Patrick mistakenly tried to speak into her Coke Zero bottle instead of her microphone.

"Next time, I'm going to drink and make it look natural," she laughed.

Coca-Cola officials were pleased to add the popular driver to their family.

"Not only is she a remarkable driver, a fierce driver -- what we really love about Danica is that her personality is so breakthrough on and off the track," said Sharon Byers, Coca-Cola's senior vice president of sports and entertainment marketing partnerships.

Commercials and ads featuring Patrick should debut just before the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 7. She is not scheduled to enter the race but will star in a series of behind-the-scene vignettes about the 400.

Patrick will start promoting Coke Zero in Charlotte, where she will enter her third Sprint race of the year. She also is driving Saturday night at Darlington after finishing 38th in her Cup debut at the Daytona 500.

At Charlotte Motor Speedway, Patrick and actress/model Brooklyn Decker will promote the movie Battleship, which has a marketing partnership with Coke Zero. Decker, a Charlotte native, appears in the movie and will serve as the honorary race starter.