EVERSON - Even though it took about four minutes, it might be the fastest business pitch ever.
A local businesswoman got the opportunity to pitch her jewelry business to GoDaddy.com - while riding in a Chevy Camaro with NASCAR driver Danica Patrick at 125 miles per hour.
Adrienne Hubbard originally applied to GoDaddy to be the woman who quit her job live during Super Bowl XLVIII. Although they didn't call her back for that now-famous commercial, GoDaddy called Hubbard to offer her a spot in "The Big Leap" competition. Five contestants pitch their business, and whoever gets the most viewer votes will get six months of salary to focus on their business full time.
"All they told me was I would be making my pitch in a 'high-stress' situation," Hubbard said. "They also asked me how I felt about roller coasters."
When they flew the 28-year-old out to Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., she started to suspect her pitch would have something to do with race cars. Still, Hubbard set up her presentation table to pitch her business "Crafty Little Gnomes," carefully laying out the various pieces of jewelry.
Then the neon green No. 10 car drove up with Patrick behind the wheel. Even though Hubbard isn't a NASCAR fan, she recognized Patrick.
"I'm only 5 foot 2, but I felt like I towered over Danica," Hubbard said. "She still made me really nervous, because she's a celebrity."
Hubbard was told to show up in professional business clothing, but they gave her a GoDaddy racing firesuit and rushed her into the passenger seat.
Hubbard had to take her shoes off to get the suit on. She was in such a hurry to get in the car she didn't get them back on in time.
"I just panicked and ended up doing the drive barefoot," Hubbard said.
She had three laps to pitch her business to Patrick. A heart-rate monitor hooked to her let the organizers - and those who watch the video - see the change in her adrenaline.
Lap 1: Hubbard begins to tell Patrick how she started her business. She couldn't find the right necklace for her wedding, so she made one. It's like a conversation between friends.
Then they hit the first turn. Hubbard gasps. Her pitch trails off.
The car reaches 120 mph. Hubbard's heart rate hits 160 beats per minute - more than double her normal rate.
"When we went around the corners, it felt like my stomach was in my throat," Hubbard said. "Then we'd go on the straights and I'd be fine, only to go through it again on the corners."
Lap 2: Hubbard develops a strategy: Don't look at the track. She fiddles with the jewelry in her hands, glancing up only occasionally before her head shoots back down. Hubbard tells Patrick about her most popular jewelry item - the message in a bottle necklace. What makes it special, she says, is it lets people write their own messages on a scroll that is put inside the bottle, which is worn on a chain.
The car corners the track at 125 mph. Hubbard giggles.
"Danica is one of the best drivers in the world," Hubbard said. "In retrospect, it was probably the safest way to drive, but it didn't feel like it at the time."
Lap 3: Hubbard finishes her pitch. Patrick, who looks like she's on a relaxing drive to the grocery store, bails her out with questions: How are you going to market the business? Why am I going to buy your necklace?
Suddenly it's over. Hubbard is hustled out of the car for photos with Patrick. Danica smiles. Hubbard, overwhelmed by the ride and experience, just keeps thinking: "Don't throw up. Don't throw up."
She didn't, as viewers can see when they watch the video of the pitch.
Hubbard hopes she'll get enough votes to win. A victory would enable her to quit her part-time job at UPS in Bellingham so she can focus on creating a workshop and making more jewelry. It also would give her more time with her 6-month-old daughter, Chloe.
Patrick appeared to be sold on the plan.
"She did a really good job," Patrick said in the video. "She kept focus and pitched me her business. ... But I like jewelry, so I'm kind of a sucker."
Hubbard said the entire experience was incredible and exciting, but she does have one regret.
"People ask me if I gave Danica any of my jewelry, and I have no idea why I didn't do that."
MORE INFORMATION, HOW TO VOTE
For more information about the contest and to vote for Adrienne Hubbard, go to godaddy.com/contest/thebigleap. Voting ends March 2.
Reach James Kozanitis at 360-715-2249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.