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Volume 24 No. 156
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Roush Fenway Racing Adds Fifth Third As Primary Cup Sponsor For Kenseth's No. 17

Fifth Third Bancorp yesterday announced a multiyear marketing partnership with Roush Fenway Racing that begins this season with the bank serving as a primary sponsor of the team's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series No. 17 Ford driven by Matt Kenseth for four races. Below are the races in which the bank will serve as primary sponsor (Fifth Third Bancorp).

Sprint All Star Race Charlotte Motor Speedway May 19
Quaker State 400 Kentucky Speedway June 30
Crown Royal's "Your Hero's Name Here" Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 29
Pure Michigan 400 Michigan Int'l Speedway August 19

YOUR AD HERE: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Tripp Mickle reports Fifth Third "has the option to change the races it sponsors" in '13 and '14. While financial terms of the agreement were not available, sources said that RFR "has been seeking $400,000 a race for Kenseth." Mickle notes it "would put the deal in the low seven figures." RFR "recently began using Fifth Third to provide some of its banking needs." However, team and bank execs said that the deal "wasn’t connected to the banking relationship." The deal with Fifth Third is the "second sponsor Roush has signed for the No. 17 car since the start of the Sprint Cup season." The team "signed a four-race deal with Zest soap earlier in the year," and also added "single-race agreements with Valvoline, Fastenal and Ford." But the No. 17 car "still needs sponsorship for a dozen races this season." The amount of open inventory on Kenseth’s car "has been a cause of concern for many in the NASCAR industry." Kenseth, who was NASCAR’s champion in '03, won this year’s Daytona 500 and stood second in the Sprint Cup standings going into last weekend (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/14 issue).

CLOSING THE GAP: RFR President Steve Newmark said that interest “has increased for Kenseth since his win in the 2012 Daytona 500, and he has about eight to 10 races left to sell” for ‘12. But SPORTING NEWS’ Bob Pockrass noted the focus “has shifted” for ‘13. Newmark said, “Obviously we’d love to have these guys continue to expand and be an anchor partner with Matt. I think that’s what they want to do as well. But our situation with Matt is not contingent in any stretch of the imagination on what any particular sponsor does.” RFR co-Owner Jack Roush said, “We’re just fine with Kenseth for next year. The program doesn’t have as much sponsorship sold as we need to sell, but there’s never a question about whether or not we have got the wherewithal and the commitment to stay with Matt Kenseth” (, 5/14).