SBD/August 18, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Clint Bowyer Considering Offers To Leave Richard Childress Racing

Bowyer has been with RCR since making Sprint Cup Series debut in '05
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer is "seriously considering offers from one or more Sprint Cup teams to leave Richard Childress Racing -- his home since making his series debut in 2005 -- following the 2011 season," according to Tim Tuttle of SI.com. Bowyer "talked openly of his desire to remain at RCR earlier this season, but negotiations have dragged and, according to multiple sources, deteriorated." Discussions between Bowyer and team owner Richard Childress "have been complicated by the lack of a primary sponsor for the No. 33 Chevrolet." For the past three seasons, General Mills brands Cheerios and Hamburger Helper have been that sponsor. Childress "had expressed confidence that General Mills would return a month ago, but it's now believed the company is looking at other options." With Carl Edwards "off the market, Bowyer is the top free agent available." In addition to RCR, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing "are said to be interested in hiring Bowyer." RPM COO Robbie Loomis "has been diligently working to put together a package for Bowyer that includes a Ford-backed deal similar to the Wood Brothers." MWR also "would like to expand to three cars and may have some support from Toyota to acquire Bowyer." JGR President J.D. Gibbs has said a fourth car for his team is a "long shot." Tuttle noted Childress "should not be counted out" because he "has shown the ability to be resourceful in retaining drivers and finding sponsors" (SI.com, 8/17).

DIRVING AWAY: ESPN's Marty Smith reported Danica Patrick will race full-time in the Nationwide Series next year in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevy for JR Motorsports. An announcement is expected to come next week “in Phoenix, Arizona, which is where her sponsor -- GoDaddy.com -- is based.” Smith: "She’s a huge brand. Her brand transcends auto racing. She’s a huge, bona fide A-list star in this country, so it brings more eyes to the sport. It also really brings more of the female demographic to the sport” ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 8/17). ESPN.com's Terry Blount reported Izod IndyCar Series officials have known Danica Patrick is leaving for NASCAR after this season "since early May." She will move to the Sprint Cup Series full time in '13 "when she drives for Stewart-Haas Racing." Patrick "will race a few Cup events next season for SHR but will maintain her rookie status in Cup for 2013." And "don't be shocked if she attempts to qualify for the 2012 Daytona 500." Blount: "Imagine the buzz surrounding the Daytona 500 next year if Patrick is in the field." In the end, NASCAR "comes out a winner whether she succeeds or fails." She will be the "biggest celebrity and best marketing machine to come NASCAR's way in a long time -- maybe ever" (ESPN.com, 8/17).
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