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Report: GoDaddy not likely to stay as primary sponsor at Andretti (UPDATED)

Sep 25, 2013, 11:47 AM EDT

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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.

But with GoDaddy’s apparent departure as a primary sponsor at Andretti Autosport, it would seem that Hinchcliffe has another matter to ponder as he goes about deciding his future.

UPDATE (11:46 a.m. ET): The Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer has tweeted the following response from GoDaddy:

  1. wallio - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Its sad that sponsering a 36th place no hoped is a better investment than a title contender. Says a lot about IndyCar.

  2. 5hourspinergy - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Further fallout from Tony George’s idiotic decision in the 90s. The fans left when the top teams were shuffled aside, and TV followed. And the fans have stayed away from all the boring street circuit racing.

    Why was the Indy 500 such a fabulous success? Because you had the best cars built with the newest technologies and driven by the best drivers, not kit-cars driven by whoever can afford the ride. And the race…fans want to see the fastest competition on ovals.

    I admit, IndyCar today has entertaining oval races, but one a month doesn’t keep up fan interest. How about that bounce-a-thon in Baltimore?

  3. bigmattintheboot - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    I too agree that street courses are a somewhere between a snoozefest and a crashfest, neither of which I like. Indy needs to come back to the Glen, for as much as the ovals make sense for the speeds, road courses are where open wheel cars of any type truly belong.

  4. indycarseries500 - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    I still can’t believe John Lopes said something that stupid, if GoDaddy does decide to stay in IndyCar it most likely won’t be on an Andretti Autosport car.

    • indycar02 - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      why do you say godaddy wants to leave AA?…

  5. Jeff - Sep 25, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    That’s a good one wallio.
    5hourspinergy couldn’t disagree more, the split his ancient history in this day and age. It’s all water under the bridge now.

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