NASCAR Team Owners Optimistic About Sponsorship Outlook For Upcoming Season
NASCAR team owners yesterday expressed optimism that the economy is improving and pointed to new sponsorships and recent renewals as evidence that better days lie ahead for Sprint Cup teams. Stewart-Haas Racing has signed three new sponsors in the last six months, bringing on Quicken Loans, Outback Steakhouse and Aspen Dental to sponsor driver Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet. Team co-Owner Tony Stewart said that showed the economy was improving. Stewart: "We still have races to sell, but it's the best position we've been in since ('09)." Joe Gibbs Racing Owner Joe Gibbs said his team signed three significant sponsorships last year, highlighted by a renewal with Mars and a 10-race Sprint Cup deal with Dollar General. Those signings were encouraging, Gibbs said, because they came in a very difficult economic climate. He added the team is becoming more effective at delivering a return to sponsors on their investments and has been more proactive in creating business-to-business opportunities among them. NASCAR recently met with team owners, and Gibbs said he was encouraged as ever about the prospects for the future of the sport. Gibbs: "NASCAR is the most involved (they've ever been). We're energized. We're trying to give fans what they want" (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
ROWDY ROUNDUP: Gibbs said that he believes Kyle Busch, who drives JGR's No. 18 Toyota in the Cup series, "has matured and just took a step back" when he was suspended in November for an on-track incident. Gibbs: "We’ve got a sponsor there that has been awesome with it. We’ve been through some incidents and Mars (which funds the No. 18 team through its M&M’s brand) just stood tall through the whole thing." Busch recently signed Monster Energy to sponsor his Nationwide Series ride and he said that the company "hasn’t talked with him about his behavior." Busch: "I haven’t had that talk with them because frankly I don’t think they care. I started talking with those folks (last) February." SCENEDAILY.com's Bob Pockrass noted while Monster "might not care, it is obvious that M&M’s does." Busch "wouldn’t divulge what his conversations have been like with Mars executives the last few months but said the sponsorship doesn’t come with additional conditions" (SCENEDAILY.com, 1/23).