SBD/Issue 148/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Budweiser Likely Will Not Follow Kahne When He Joins Hendrick

Budweiser Unlikely To Follow Kahne
To Hendrick Motorsports

For the second time in three years, Budweiser will likely lose another NASCAR driver to Hendrick Motorsports. Industry insiders say there is little chance that Budweiser will follow driver Kasey Kahne to Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 Chevrolet in '12. Pepsi, a longtime Hendrick sponsor, enjoys beverage exclusivity with the organization, where it sponsors Jeff Gordon, its Amp Energy brand sponsors Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Gatorade sponsors Jimmie Johnson. "There's a very deep relationship there between Pepsi and Hendrick Motorsports and there's virtually no way that Hendrick would want to upset Pepsi by trying to bring Budweiser on board," said one industry source. Budweiser formerly sponsored Earnhardt, but was unable to follow him when he left DEI to join Hendrick prior to the '08 season. As one Hendrick insider said, "If Budweiser could come here, they'd already be here." Kahne announced Wednesday that he is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of this season to drive the No. 5 car at Hendrick beginning in '12. Hendrick owner Rick Hendrick said he will find Kahne a ride for the '11 season at another team because Mark Martin is under contract to drive the No. 5 car in '11. The most likely landing spot for Kahne next year is at Stewart-Haas Racing, a team that buys its chassis and engines from Hendrick. Budweiser could follow Kahne in '11 to a team other than Hendrick.

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