DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Danica Patrick defended the GoDaddy puppy commercial that was pulled from the Super Bowl after criticism from animal-rights groups.
''We thought it was a really funny, slightly left-side, joke,'' Patrick said Thursday at Daytona 500 media day. ''People have an opinion about everything, especially when you get into that world of animal rights or tree rights, or whatever rights.''
In the ad, a puppy that found its way home after becoming lost was then sold online via a website created with Godaddy.com; Patrick drives away with the puppy at the end of the ad. Pet lovers found it offensive and others suggested it promoted the sale of animals online. GoDaddy, which is Patrick's NASCAR sponsor, yanked the ad before the game and instead aired one showing a business owner toiling away instead of enjoying the Super Bowl.
Patrick still holds the celebrity record for appearing in the most Super Bowl ads ever. But last month's decision ended her run of appearing in a Super Bowl commercial that dated to 2007.
''I was definitely disappointed I wasn't in the Super Bowl for a commercial,'' Patrick said. ''But I was in a Super Bowl commercial.''
Patrick is a dog lover and said she bought hers, a miniature Siberian Husky named Dallas, online.
Patrick made her mark with GoDaddy in a series of risque ads that capitalized on her sex appeal. Patrick's first Super Bowl spot was in 2007, but GoDaddy first began using the Super Bowl to advertise in 2005 when it spoofed Janet Jackson's ''wardrobe malfunction'' in its commercial.
''We were here to be funny and enough people didn't think we were funny,'' Patrick said. ''I still feel like they got their bang for their buck.''