SBD/Issue 51/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Wheels & Deals: Hendrick Negotiating With DuPont For No. 24 Car

Hendrick Negotiating New Deal With Dupont,
Jeff Gordon's Primary Sponsor
Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) Owner Rick Hendrick said that he is "negotiating a new deal with DuPont," the primary sponsor on Jeff Gordon's No. 24 car since he joined Sprint Cup Series in '92. DuPont's contract is set to expire after next season, and Hendrick said that the company "will remain on the No. 24 at least for a good portion of the races through the end of Gordon's career." Hendrick also noted that Gordon "will drive through at least the 2013 season" for HMS. There has been "speculation that Gordon, who has a lifetime deal with HMS, will retire within the next couple of years." Hendrick said Gordon is "committed to at least 2013, maybe 2014" (ESPN.com, 11/20).

IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT: The AP's Jenna Fryer reported Volkswagen Motorsport Representative Hans-Joachim Stuck was at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, "fueling speculation that the automaker is interested in joining Toyota as the second foreign manufacturer in NASCAR." Top NASCAR officials confirmed that Stuck "met with the sanctioning body on Saturday at the track." A source said that Volkswagen officials "expressed interest in entering a racing series, but indicated they are more inclined to pick a series that showcases technology." A "second option for Volkswagen could be the Grand-Am Road Racing Series, which is owned by NASCAR and uses foreign engine makers" (AP, 11/21).

BACK ON TRACK: BAM Racing co-Owner Beth Ann Morgenthau said that the team, which has been on hiatus since '08, "plans to return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in 2010." NASCAR SCENE's Kenny Bruce reported BAM's No. 49 Toyota will feature sponsorship "provided by Warner Music Nashville, which will use the opportunity to promote various releases by new and established artists." Larry the Cable Guy "will adorn the team's entry at Daytona to help kick off the release of his new CD, 'Tailgate Party.'" BAM had been out of the sport "because of a lack of sponsorship" (SCENEDAILY.com, 11/22).

Earnhardt Jr. Likely To Remain NASCAR's
Most Popular Driver Despite Down Year
CRUISE CONTROL: In Miami, Linda Robertson wrote NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is "still headline worthy despite the worst season of his career." He was voted the most popular driver last season "for the sixth consecutive year and set a NASCAR record for merchandise sales in 2008, and that streak should continue." Not only does he have the "lineage and the most magnetic name in the sport, but he's also the down-home Everyman fans adore." NASCAR "always has thrived on its personalities, feuds and climactic finishes." The sport "could use some Rocky Road to go with Mr. Vanilla," and it "could use the resurgence" of Earnhardt Jr. (MIAMI HERALD, 11/22).

CULTURAL EXPANSION: ESPN.com's David Newton wrote NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya has "touched a culture in the Hispanic community that NASCAR was unable to tap into before his arrival three years ago." Earnhardt Ganassi Racing co-Owner Felix Sabates said of Montoya, "He brings a higher class of fans than any other driver in NASCAR. I don't say that to be disrespectful. ... He brings a mixture I don't think any other driver out there does." Homestead-Miami Speedway for yesterday's Ford 400 offered "two ticket packages that included $42 donations to the driver's charity foundation," and "more than 2,400 were sold." Newton wrote "one could argue that Montoya, through his own popularity, has done more for NASCAR's diversity program than anything the governing body has accomplished on its own" (ESPN.com, 11/20).

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