SBD/August 14, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Parts Ways With Montoya, But Target Deal Stays With Team

Montoya's best Sprint Cup finish with EGR was eighth in '09
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team owner Chip Ganassi and President Steve Lauletta yesterday decided that EGR "will not bring" back NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya for an eighth season, according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. Montoya has only two wins in 239 combined career starts in NASCAR, and his best season finish was eighth in the '09 Sprint Cup standings. There is "no clear answer to what has been the problem with Montoya," his No. 42 team or the EGR team. It also is "not clear where Montoya goes next" (AP, 8/13). EGR co-Owner Felix Sabates said that it is "too early to speculate on who will replace Montoya other than to say the No. 42 will be on the track with primary sponsor Target." Sabates: "We have a great ride, a great sponsor. We'll keep all of our options open and won't make a decision for a while" (ESPN.com, 8/14). FOXSPORTS.com's Lee Spencer wrote EGR's future still "remains bright." Ganassi last year signed 21-year-old driver Kyle Larson to an eight-year contract, and Larson is "currently competing for Turner Scott Motorsports in the Nationwide Series." While Montoya had "a solid relationship with Target, Larson is a sponsor's dream" because he is "young, attractive, well-spoken and capable of winning" (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/13).

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM: SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass wrote yesterday's announcement that Brian Vickers will drive the '14 and '15 Sprint Cup seasons with full-season backing from Aaron's "was nowhere near a foregone conclusion, and far from a rubber stamp." Aaron’s "has a CEO who is 18 months on the job, and a chief marketing officer who joined the company in January." Vickers "got off to a good-but-not-great start to the season," and Hendrick Motorsports is "courting Aaron's to pour more money into 17-year-old Chase Elliott’s career." Vickers said, "Educating them on who I was, educating themselves on the sport and MWR was a long process with a lot of unknowns." Pockrass noted Vickers "had to work off the track -- he attended the Aaron's national sales meeting, where he got to know the Aaron's brass" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/13).
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