SBJ/January 22 - 28, 2007/This Weeks News

Busch Series teams land sponsorship deals

Two companies new to NASCAR will announce Busch Series sponsorship deals this week during the preseason media tour.

Carino’s will use the series for its rebranding
efforts, sponsoring Brad Coleman’s car.

Carino’s Italian Grill, formerly Johnny Carino’s, is using the Busch Series as the platform for a nationwide rebranding effort with 18-year-old driver Brad Coleman. Carino’s sponsored Coleman in a handful of ARCA races last year and will be the primary sponsor for the majority of Coleman’s 17 Busch races this year in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 car.

Details were being ironed out last week, but the agreement is valued in the low seven figures annually, according to industry insiders, and an announcement is expected Wednesday during the media tour’s stop at Gibbs’ shop.

Also, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. will announce this week that it has a Busch sponsorship deal with Evernham Motorsports to feature its Doublemint brand on Kasey Kahne’s No. 9 Dodge.

For Carino’s, a chain of about 200 restaurants nationally, it intends to use Coleman in an online sweepstakes and multiple appearances at tracks and restaurants to expose the restaurant’s new mark. Coleman, who will share the Busch schedule with Tony Stewart and Aric Almirola in the No. 18 Chevrolet, will drive in his first 2007 Busch race at Mexico City on March 4, a week after he turns 19.

Whereas Carino’s aligned itself with an up-and-coming driver, two of NASCAR’s most popular Nextel Cup drivers will shepherd Wrigley into the sport this year. Before signing as a sponsor on Kahne’s Busch car, Wrigley announced in November a combination Nextel Cup-Busch deal that involves Juan Pablo Montoya at Ganassi Racing.

Wrigley’s sponsorships will be treated as separate programs, according to industry insiders, meaning Montoya and Kahne likely will not appear together in marketing materials or point-of-sale displays.

Wrigley’s deal with Evernham will involve a primary sponsorship at Phoenix for the Doublemint brand and associate positioning the rest of the season. Unilever holds the primary space for 23 out of the 35 Busch races. More details are scheduled to be announced Thursday at Evernham’s shop.

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