SBD/September 2, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Hendrick Motorsports Signs Earnhardt Jr. To Five-Year Contract Extension Through '17

Earnhardt Jr. had agreed to extend Hendrick deal months ago
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports have "agreed to a five-year contract extension that will keep the sport's most popular driver with the organization" through '17, according to Bob Pockrass of SCENEDAILY.com. Earnhardt and team Owner Rick Hendrick "had agreed to extend the deal months ago," and JR Motorsports co-Owner & GM Kelley Earnhardt "negotiated the deal" with Hendrick Motorsports President & CEO Marshall Carlson. No sponsorship for '13-17 was announced (SCENEDAILY.com, 9/1). Hendrick said, "Junior and I had a handshake agreement months ago, and we let other people work out the finer points from there. It was as simple and smooth as it gets" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/2). ESPN.com's David Newton wrote the deal "didn't involve a huge news conference, a lot of hoopla, pomp and circumstance" because Earnhardt "didn't want to bring attention to this." Newton added, "This deal will end talk of Earnhardt going to Richard Childress Racing, where his dad won six of his seven titles, and possibly drive the No. 3" (ESPN.com, 9/1).

BOTH SIDES WIN: FOXSPORTS.com's Larry McReynolds wrote, "This is good for both sides." McReynolds: "In Dale Jr.'s case it actually boils down to a simple question: Where would he go? Where can he go that would be better across the board in people, technology and resources year in and year out than Hendrick Motorsports?" McReynolds continued, "Now on the other side of the coin is Hendrick Motorsports, and let's face it: From a business perspective, you can't get any better than Dale Earnhardt Jr. He generates a lot of exposure and revenue for that company. He is far and away NASCAR's most popular driver year after year" (FOXSPORTS.com, 9/1). ESPN’s Terry Blount: "We’re still talking about a guy who is the most marketable driver in the sport, a guy who transcends the sport, and that’s why they want to re-sign him. He can bring sponsorship” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 9/1).
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