Sep 25, 2013, 11:47 AM EDT
Citing low television ratings, GoDaddy – which serves as the primary backer of James Hinchcliffe’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet in the IZOD IndyCar Series – appears unlikely to return to the series in the same role next year according to a report from Autoweek.
Per Autoweek, Andretti Autosport senior vice president and chief marketing officer John Lopes said on Indianapolis’ WFNI-AM (1070 The Fan) that while he was still optimistic that GoDaddy would retain some sort of role with the team, he noted that the company prefers to “measure their return on investment based on TV.”
Hinchcliffe is one of the bigger prizes in this year’s IndyCar Silly Season, as he has claimed three victories this season – which is also the final year of his current pact with Andretti Autosport.
The team is trying to keep him on board and perhaps away from a potential fourth program at Chip Ganassi Racing – a program that could also be in play for Indianapolis 500 champion and current KV Racing driver Tony Kanaan, who’s been candid this summer about his ongoing struggle to find more funding.
But Hinchcliffe would appear in position to be the first big domino to fall in Silly Season. Once he’s settled, Kanaan and the other free agents in the paddock will likely begin their own moves to tweak the 2014 grid.
Lopes told 1070 The Fan that he was “cautiously optimistic” about retaining Hinchcliffe, noting that several companies are interested in backing him next year – although none have committed as of now.
“[Hinchcliffe's] deal’s not done, but we’re certainly not giving up the ghost on it,” Lopes said.
UPDATE (11:46 a.m. ET): The Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer has tweeted the following response from GoDaddy:
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