SBD/August 25, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wheels & Deals: NASCAR Teams, Drivers, Sponsors Still Waiting For '12 Plans

Clint Bowyer's RCR No. 33 entry will lose General Mills at the end of this season
CBSSPORTS.com’s Pete Pistone reported NASCAR's "Silly Season" so far "has been nothing more than ‘Snoring Season’ with not much else announced for 2012 driver, team and sponsor line-ups.” Clint Bowyer “would like nothing more than to extend his contract with Richard Childress Racing,” but the reported “hold-up is around finding necessary sponsorship for the RCR No. 33 entry, which will lose General Mills at the end of this season.” Steven Wallace’s Nationwide Series sponsor 5-Hour Energy “continues to be in the mix as a potential replacement but right now there is no agreement.” David Ragan is facing the "same scenario” with sponsor UPS. Matt Kenseth’s ride is “without a full-time commitment” for next season and Carl Edwards “doesn’t have a complete season worth of funding for his car.” Aflac is “expected back in a limited role but the Michigan garage area was rampant with rumors Home Depot, who reportedly coveted having Edwards as its spokesperson had made the move to Joe Gibbs Racing, might find its way” to Edwards’ No. 99 car. Pistone noted The Home Depot management watched “arch rival Lowe’s grab the spotlight for five years with Jimmie Johnson’s title runs,” and “some restlessness within Home Depot’s corporate offices would be more than understandable.” Meanwhile, Pistone noted the “possibility of Red Bull staying in NASCAR, either with a new team or with another organization, remains alive.” Still, sources said that the “longer time passes the less likely the company inking a sponsorship-only deal becomes” (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/24).

SETTLING THE SUIT: SCENEDAILY.com’s Bob Pockrass reported driver Elliott Sadler and Richard Petty Motorsports “have settled a lawsuit filed by Sadler against his former team.” Sadler’s attorney, John Buric, said that the settlement terms “are confidential.” Sadler “claimed in court documents that his former team was withholding a payment to him because it accused him of influencing Hunt Brothers Pizza to leave RPM and sponsor him at Kevin Harvick Inc.” The lawsuit was “against the new ownership group of RPM, which was sold by the Gillett family to Richard Petty and two investors last November” (SCENEDAILY.com, 8/24).

HAMMERING IT HOME: Irwin Industrial Tools VP/Marketing Curt Rahilly said that the company’s NASCAR sponsorship “has been a big part of putting Irwin’s brand ‘on the map.’” In Tennessee, Jeff Bobo noted Irwin’s product awareness “has tripled” since the company became involved in the sport eight years ago. The company last year “switched from season-long NASCAR driver sponsorship" to a "multiyear sponsorship contract exclusively for the August Bristol Cup night race.” Rahilly said that the company “gets more bang for its buck sponsoring one specific race per year than sponsoring a single driver for 36 races” (Kingsport TIMES-NEWS, 8/24).

NOTES: The Toyota Camry “will pace the 2012 Daytona 500 -- the first time a foreign automaker will enjoy the honor in The Great American Race.” Since Toyota entered NASCAR in ’07, its cars “have paced stock car events at 11 tracks that host” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 8/24)….Chevy and Road America announced a marketing partnership that will make the Chevrolet the Official Vehicle of the track. Road America will also bring back the Corvette Bridge with plans to hold a rededication ceremony on Aug. 21 (Road America).
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