Canadian IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe has knocked NASCAR star Danica Patrick off the GoDaddy.com home page. The 25-year-old Toronto native replaced Patrick at Andretti Autosport this season following her full-time move to NASCAR.
"Seeing myself on the GoDaddy.com homepage definitely makes all this feel more surreal," Hinchcliffe said Tuesday. "It's crazy to see, but great at the same time.
"It's been incredible driving for Go Daddy and working with all the people there. But as far as (the homepage) goes, I have to thank all the people that voted, and a big thanks, too, to my awesome campaign team."
Both drivers are sponsored by Go Daddy, and Hinchcliffe launched a grass-roots "Hinch for Homepage" campaign to replace Patrick on the company website. Patrick is a longtime and recognizable spokeswoman for Go Daddy.
Go Daddy eventually got behind the "contest," which initially was just a Twitter campaign and a few videos Hinchcliffe made with Andretti personnel that he posted to his personal website. Go Daddy then began using the "Hinch for Homepage" theme in a national marketing campaign that featured both drivers.
The ads began airing Memorial Day weekend — in conjunction with the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 — and were Hinchcliffe's first nationally televised commercials.
Hinchcliffe popped up on the homepage sometime Monday night.
"You guys did it!!! You got me on the (at)GoDaddy Homepage!" he tweeted.
The company said Tuesday it was fun to watch Hinchcliffe's initiative grow, and decided to feature him on the site as a salute to his efforts, drive and passion. The company also noted its significant exposure for its newest driver as the Go Daddy website is the 48th most-visited site in the U.S. and ranked 90th internationally.
Go Daddy has a longtime association with Patrick, and has featured her in many of its notorious Super Bowl ads. Go Daddy followed her this season in her move to NASCAR, where she is running a full Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports and a limited Sprint Cup Series schedule for Tony Stewart.
She'll run the full Cup schedule next year for Stewart with Go Daddy sponsorship.
The company agreed to stay in IndyCar with team owner Michael Andretti after Patrick left, and Dan Wheldon had signed to replace Patrick the morning he was killed in the October season finale.
Andretti then pushed to hire Hinchcliffe, and the company was swayed by his charisma and marketing ability.
The added bonus has been the on-track success of last season's rookie of the year. Hinchcliffe has two podium finishes and had climbed to second in the points two races ago. A crash at Iowa and an engine failure Sunday in hometown Toronto has dropped him to fifth in points with five races remaining.
"While Sunday's Toronto race didn't turn out the way Hinch hoped, we, like his fellow Canadians, are ready to cheer him on in Edmonton and beyond," the company said in a statement Tuesday.
"As a salute to his efforts, his drive and his passion ... James Hinchcliffe is prominently featured on the GoDaddy.com homepage today."