SBD/January 26, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wheels & Deals: MWR Exec Optimistic About NASCAR Sponsorships

MWR's partners, including NAPA, spending more against the team this year
After several years of slow sponsorship sales and little activity, Michael Waltrip Racing Exec VP/Business Tyson Norris said NASCAR teams are beginning to see a rise in sponsorship interest. There are signs that the fog is lifting, Norris said, adding, "I feel so much better than I did two years ago." MWR has increased the amount of spending its key partners -- NAPA, Aaron's and Tums -- are making against the team going into '11, and Norris said he was encouraged by some of the associate sponsorships announced this week by other NASCAR teams. Norris: "I feel like the storm has passed. There's still some collateral damage. Until we rebuild the collateral damage, we can't get the sport back to where it was." MWR and NAPA Auto Parts yesterday announced that Michael Waltrip will drive the No. 15 MWR Toyota in this year's Daytona 500 featuring a NAPA paint scheme that honors Waltrip's 25th consecutive start in the race as well as the 10th anniversary of the '01 Daytona 500. Waltrip won in '01 driving for team owner Dale Earnhardt, who was fatally injured on the final lap of the race (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

RIGHT ON TARGET:'s Ed Hinton noted Earnhardt Ganassi Racing "secured 100 percent renewal for this season with sponsors whose contracts were up" despite the Sprint Cup Series still suffering from "corporate sponsorship dropout in a still-sagging economy." Bass Pro Shops and McDonald's "will go again" as primary sponsors of the No. 1 car driven by Jamie McMurray, while Target stays with Juan Pablo Montoya's No. 42 car. EGR was "born just two years ago from the merger of two troubled teams by economic necessity" -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing -- but it "now is as healthy as they come, if you figure funding per car." EGR Competition Dir Steve Hmiel said of team Owner Chip Ganassi's treatment of Target, "I've never seen anybody take care of a sponsor like he does" (, 1/24).

NOTES: Richard Childress Racing yesterday announced a six-race agreement on Kevin Harvick's No. 29 Sprint Cup car with sandwich chain Jimmy John's. The car will be primarily sponsored by Budweiser this season; RCR still has 10 races to sell on it (Mickle)....NASCAR has reached an exclusive multiyear deal for K&N Filters' oil and air filters to be the league's official air filter (THE DAILY)....Rockstar Energy Drink has signed MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo to a sponsorship deal. The deal marks Lorenzo's first U.S. sponsor and Rockstar's first-ever sponsorship of a MotoGP racer (Rockstar)....Music magazine Vibe is "slapping its logo on rookie driver Darrell Wallace Jr.'s race car and promising extensive editorial coverage in support of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program." Vibe is "working with Wallace's race team, Revolution Racing" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1/23).
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