Danica Patrick, meet Sonic the Hedgehog.
In an upcoming video game titled Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Patrick will be a free playable character where gamers will have the opportunity to race across land, air and water in vehicles that are fully transformable.
Despite limited success in NASCAR and open-wheel racing, this is just the latest example of Patrick's crossover appeal where her name and brand have become recognizable enough to people who don't even follow motorsports that a well-known video game company is inclined to use her to promote their product.
This was evident in a statement by Sega president and COO Masanao Maeda, who said Patrick's "accomplishments both on and off the track make her the perfect partner for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed."
With all due respect to Maeda's business acumen, he obviously hasn't taken a close look at Patrick's actual on-track performance.
While Patrick is the highest finishing female in the history of the Indianapolis 500 and is the only female to have won an IndyCar race, to say she has struggled in her transition to NASCAR would be an understatement.
In 37 career Nationwide Series starts, Patrick has just four finishes inside the top 10 with an average finish of 20.4. And in three races at the Sprint Cup level, Patrick has finished no better than 30th and has yet to finish a race less than five laps behind the leaders.
But as has been the case since she burst onto the racing scene in 2005, Patrick is as well-known for what she does outside of the car as she does in it and has had little trouble attracting high-profile sponsorships – including current NASCAR backer GoDaddy.com, which has frequently promoted Patrick's sexuality in numerous risqué television commercials.
In conjunction with the release of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed in time for the holiday season, Patrick will be racing a Sonic the Hedgehog-inspired paint scheme during the fall Nationwide Series race at Texas, but will also be featured in the national marketing campaign for the soon-to-be-released video game.