Source: PepsiCo Reducing NASCAR Spend; Hendrick Shops Multi-Race Deal For Dale Jr.
PepsiCo is "finalizing a new, three-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that will reduce its spend in NASCAR by as much as $20 million and open the door for a new sponsor to land a multi-race deal with the sport's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.," according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The company is "working on a deal that would make it the primary sponsor for eight races across three Hendrick Motorsports cars -- the No. 88, No. 24 and No. 5 -- between 2013 and 2015." That is a "reduction from the 22 races it sponsored across two cars -- 20 on Earnhardt’s No. 88 and two on Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 -- over the last five years." Current plans call for PepsiCo’s Diet Mountain Dew and Amp Energy brands "to top the No. 88 car driven by Earnhardt in five races, its Pepsi brands to cover the No. 24 car driven by Gordon in two races, and one of its Pepsi brands to be a single-race primary sponsor on the No. 5 car driven by Kasey Kahne." Sources said that Hendrick is "shopping 13 primary races on Earnhardt's No. 88 car and four races" with Kahne. Hendrick Motorsports Dir of Marketing Pat Perkins "declined to comment on the number of races available on the No. 88 car but said the team is looking for a single company or brand that would align well with Pepsi and the National Guard, which will sponsor 20 primary races on the No. 88 next year." Perkins added that Hendrick is "looking at categories such as consumer packaged goods, personal care, specialty retailers and technology" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/22 issue).
READY TO RETURN: In Charlotte, Jim Utter reports Earnhardt, who had been "sidelined two weeks [after] suffering lingering effects from a pair of concussions, has been medically cleared for competition." Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty said, "Dale Jr. has done everything asked of him. He hasn’t had a headache since Oct. 12, and we have not been able to provoke any symptoms since that time." Earnhardt had a "final neurological evaluation Tuesday morning in Charlotte" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/24).