SBD/Issue 195/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

RCR Struggling On, Off Track As GM Misses $2.5M Payment

Childress (r) Hopes To Be Able To Re-Sign
Shell As Sponsor For Harvick Next Season
Richard Childress Racing (RCR) reportedly was "denied a quarterly payment" of $2.5M from GM after the automaker declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is a "lot of cash that suddenly has disappeared from the RCR budget," according to Godwin Kelly of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. RCR Owner Richard Childress said of the report, "I don't go around asking people what they're paying y'all. So that's kind of our deal here." Childress added of the economy, "Everybody is seeing times that we never dreamed we would see." Meanwhile, Kelly noted none of RCR's four Sprint Cup Series drivers are "listed among the top 12 in points, which means the organization could find itself outside looking in when the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins in September" (, 6/26).'s Mark Beech wrote the "day of reckoning is fast approaching" for RCR. Sponsorship deals with Shell and Jack Daniel's for drivers Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears, respectively, are "up this season," and while it "seems unlikely that Shell would refuse to renew with a star as (usually) bankable as Harvick, Mears is another story." Childress is "one of the most venerable figures in the sport, but that may not help him make it through this crisis unscathed" (, 6/26). In Indianapolis, Steve Ballard noted impending GM cuts combined with the Shell and Jack Daniel's expirations add up to "one of the most challenging times" of Childress' career. Childress: "I don't know really what all is going to happen. We're going to have to make cuts like everybody in the sport or in the business" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/28). Ballard noted the GM cuts "have hit hard, but while that will hinder the team's efforts to catch up, it didn't cause the problem." Ballard: "They'll eventually get it figured out, but probably not in time to get any of their drivers into this year's Chase" (, 6/28).

EGR ALSO DEALING WITH GM: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said that team officials have met with GM "to go over what GM will be able to provide the team." Lauletta: "We haven't gone into having conversations about 2010 yet, so as of right now we've got to sit down and talk to them and look at our options and kind of determine the best course of action." Lauletta added that the team "continues to search for sponsorship to get Aric Almirola back in some Cup races this season." Driver Martin Truex Jr. is a free agent after this season, but Lauletta said that it "is 'the plan' for Truex's sponsor, Bass Pro Shops, to be with the team next year." Meanwhile, in Norfolk, Dustin Long reports Michael Waltrip Racing has scheduled a July 7 press conference in which it is expected Truex will be "announced as Michael Waltrip's replacement beginning next season" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 6/29). Lauletta: "If something happened where we didn't re-sign Martin, then we would be having dialogue with Bass Pro on who takes the seat. When, if that time comes, we'll be doing that as quick as we have to" (, 6/28).

Early Season Success Has Stewart (l) 
Contemplating Expanding Team To Three Cars
ADDING ON: The INDIANAPOLIS STAR's Ballard notes Stewart-Haas Racing co-Owner & driver Tony Stewart is "entertaining the idea of adding a third car next season." Stewart: "The biggest thing is you've got to make sure you can fund it first. You can build a team, but if you don't have the money to run it, it's not going to work. We haven't talked to anybody at this point. (We're) just letting everybody know we're open to discussing it" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/29). ESPN’s Angelique Chengelis said of Stewart, “He said that he intentionally put that out on the table last week at Sonoma because he wants people to know that he is interested in listening. He said it doesn’t cost anything to listen to potential sponsors, to drivers who might be interested. He wants to look at all options.” Chengelis said Stewart felt “that six weeks ago this would not be an option for him but because the team has had terrific success” they could look into adding a third team (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 6/28).

CUTTING BACK: In Boston, Fluto Shinzawa notes the five-car stable of Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) "must be trimmed to four vehicles for the 2010 season," and Fenway Sports Group Exec VP/Business Development & Motorsports Brian Corcoran said that a "decision should take place by August because of sponsorship obligations." One alternative is for "one of the drivers to switch to Yates Racing," as RFR has an "existing partnership with Yates" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/29). Meanwhile, JTG/Daugherty Racing co-Owner Tad Geschickter said that the team "will not be able to field a fulltime entry" in the Nationwide Series beyond Friday's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona Int'l Speedway "unless additional sponsorship is found." Geschickter: "We had money to run half the races and we had to make a choice whether to spread those races out or frontload them and hope to get enough money to run the second half." In Charlotte, Jim Utter noted so far "no additional money has been found to sustain driver Michael McDowell's fulltime effort." McDowell currently ranks 11th in the Nationwide Series standings. Geschickter said that his Nationwide team "will still occasionally compete in the second half of the season" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/28).

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