SBD/October 27, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wheels & Deals: Earnhardt Ganassi Plans To Stay With Chevy

ESPN.com’s David Newton reported Earnhardt Ganassi Racing officials “don’t deny that Ford has approached them about switching manufacturers” next year, but EGR officials said that “there are no plans to leave Chevrolet." That is due in part to the "long-standing relationship the Earnhardt part of this equation has with General Motors, not to mention the Earnhardt Childress Racing engines that arguably are the best in the business at the moment.” However, there likely is a part of EGR co-owner Chip Ganassi that would "like to start his own engine department again.” Ganassi admits that “shutting down that operation was one of the toughest things he’s had to do when the merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc. happened a few years ago” (ESPN.com, 10/26).

REMEMBERING THE INTIMIDATOR: EGR and Bass Pro Shops “will pay tribute to racing legend” Dale Earnhardt’s induction into the NASCAR HOF during this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Amp Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Chevy will “feature the same black and gold paint scheme that was first used by Earnhardt in the 1998 All Star Race and was a salute to conservation and the American outdoorsman.” The scheme “commemorates the 10th anniversary of Earnhardt’s 76th and final Cup victory, which came in the fall race at Talladega.” Diecast cars, T-shirts, caps and memorabilia commemorating the car and Earnhardt are "available at Bass Pro Shops stores and on their website as well as other retailers" (SCENEDAILY.com, 10/26).

MORE ON RPM'S UNCERTAINTY: ESPN's Terry Blount cited sources as saying Richard Petty is trying to put together a group of investors to buy Richard Petty Motorsports, but Blount noted "what people need to remember here is that Richard Petty owns less than 5% of this team." Blount: "He is really a figurehead here. They are using his name and for good reason, obviously. For him to be able to put together a deal on short notice to salvage this appears to be unlikely." RPM officials have said they plan to run the remainder of the '10 Sprint Cup Series, but the plans for '11 are unclear due to the team's uncertain financial status. ESPN's Alan Petree said of the effect RPM potentially shutting down could have on NASCAR, "There's really good talent over there and there are not a lot of places to go" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 10/26).

BRAND APPEAL: Sponsorship measurement firm Joyce Julius & Associates found that during last Sunday’s episode of CBS' “Undercover Boss” that featured NASCAR CMO & Senior VP Steve Phelps, 84 brands accumulated a combined 29 minutes, 57 seconds (29:57) of clear in-focus exposure time, three verbal references and an overall exposure value of $2.7M. Coca-Cola earned nearly $440,000 of in-broadcast exposure value from having its logo appear for more than three minutes throughout the show as Phelps operated a concession stand at Daytona Int'l Speedway wearing a NASCAR hat and Coca-Cola apron. Phelps also worked as a tire specialist for Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 00 car, giving sponsor Aaron’s the most on-screen time of any brand throughout the show with a total of 3:26, leading to an exposure value of $371,900 (Joyce Julius & Associates).

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