SBD/April 20, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Farmers Insurance Returns To NASCAR Through Deal With Hendrick Motorsports

Hendrick will field No. 25 car with Farmers logo in All-Star Race
Farmers Insurance has signed a five-race primary sponsorship for Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 Chevrolet driven by Mark Martin. The deal makes Farmers an associate sponsor of Martin's car for the remainder of the season. The deal continues Farmers' recent push into sports by adding NASCAR to a portfolio that also includes naming rights for Farmers Field, the planned NFL stadium in downtown L.A., and the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Farmers President of Enterprise Marketing Paul Patsis said, "It's hard to ignore NASCAR and the NFL. They dominate sports. This seemed like a natural extension for us." Patsis said that Farmers plans to use the sponsorship to raise its brand awareness and inspire its sales agents. He added there would be business-to-business opportunities with the Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates 59 car dealerships across nine states. There's currently no formal B2B relationship, Patsis said. This is the California-based insurer's first Sprint Cup team sponsorship since it sponsored Travis Kvapil at an '09 race at Fontana's Auto Club Speedway. Patsis said, "That sort of whet our appetite. We wanted to do research more and look at getting involved in a different way (after Fontana)." Martin will drive a Farmers-branded car at five races: May 21 at the Sprint Cup All-Star Race in Charlotte; June 5 at Kansas Speedway; June 12 at Pocono Raceway; June 26 at Infineon Raceway; and Aug. 27 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In the All-Star Race, Hendrick will field a No. 25 car with a red paint scheme and Farmers logo that resembles the No. 25 Folgers-branded car Hendrick driver Tim Richmond drove in '86 (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

KEEP IT RUNNIN': Richard Childress Racing yesterday announced that Caterpillar has agreed to continue its primary sponsorship of RCR's No. 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet driven by Jeff Burton. Also, Burton has reached an agreement on a multiyear contract extension with the team. Caterpillar has been a NASCAR sponsor since '93. Its current relationship with RCR began in '09 (RCR). SPEEDTV.com's Tom Jensen noted Burton’s deal "solidifies a strong driver-team-sponsor partnership that has enjoyed considerable success on the track and off" (SPEEDTV.com, 4/19).

BIGGER FISH TO FRY: SCENEDAILY.com's Bob Pockrass noted while Roush Fenway Racing has signed three-year extensions with driver Greg Biffle and his primary Sprint Cup sponsor, 3M, the NASCAR team "still has Carl Edwards and sponsors Aflac and UPS with contracts that expire at the end of the year." Edwards is "free to talk to any team," and it "could take more than one sponsor to lure him as Aflac in the past has asked for Roush Fenway to find companies to partner with them on its current sponsorship." Edwards also "could command a significant salary, which could require two sponsors to make that work." RFR President Steve Newmark "hopes that signing Biffle and 3M shows Aflac and other companies that sponsoring a driver in the sport will work." In addition, UPS, a primary sponsor for RFR driver David Ragan, "also must re-sign." Ragan's contract with the team is "not up but if he doesn’t have a sponsor, it’s likely Roush would replace him with another driver who has sponsorship" (SCENEDAILY.com, 4/19).
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