Lowe's Staying With Jimmie Johnson, Will Sponsor All Sprint Cup Races Through '15
Lowe’s yesterday signed a two-year renewal with Hendrick Motorsports that will see it remain the primary sponsor of Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 car for all 36 Sprint Cup Series races in '14 and '15. The company announced the agreement in Las Vegas, where it held a meeting with 1,700 store managers. Financial terms of the deal were not available, but industry sources said Lowe’s will pay less than it did during its current contract, which is set to end after this season. Sources valued Lowe’s current deal at $30-35M a year. The home improvement store is one of only a handful of full-season primary sponsors that decided to renew its 36-race agreement in the last few years. It joins Geico, Menard’s, MillerCoors, NAPA and Shell-Pennzoil in doing so. The decision ensures that Lowe’s logo will remain on the hood of a car and affiliated with a driver who has enjoyed tremendous success over the last decade. Since signing on to sponsor Johnson in '02, he has never finished lower than sixth in championship points, won five championships and claimed two Daytona 500 victories. Over the last decade, Johnson has provided Lowe’s with a high-profile marketing platform that allowed the company to build a database of more than 1 million fans, amass more than $130M in media exposure in just four years and run a series of signature promotions that helped Lowe’s launch its own line of tools and evolve from a regional retailer to a national chain. Lowe’s CMO Tom Lamb in a statement said, “It has been a great ride with Jimmie since he started in the Cup Series 12 years ago. We are proud to sponsor one of the most elite teams and drivers in racing and have a five-time champion carry the Lowe’s brand each week” (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer). Johnson, whose contract with Hendrick runs through '15, said of Lowe's, "They are all I've ever known in my Sprint Cup career, and their support of me and the No. 48 team is second to none in this sport." USA TODAY's Nate Ryan notes with Lowe's re-signed, Hendrick "can turn its attention fully to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Chevrolet, which has 13 races open for sponsorship late in the season" (USA TODAY, 2/28).
VICTORY LAP: The AP's Schuyler Dixon noted Johnson landed in the Dallas area on Tuesday night before "hopping a plane" to Las Vegas, and is expected to visit L.A. today. Johnson said, "I think that NASCAR has worked very hard to get us in major markets, and people want to see us. They want to see the winner, want to talk to the winner. I think there's more interest today than what I personally had and what our sport had in 2006." Dixon wrote Johnson's extension with Lowe's is "an important early-season development in what was otherwise shaping up as a contract year, something drivers always hope to avoid." Johnson: "The stability is the key. To know that that's done and literally the season's starting, we don't have to worry about that as a lot of teams do, field those questions and concerns. Honestly, it's a great honor" (AP, 2/27). Chevrolet today ran a full-page ad in USA Today congratulating Johnson on his Daytona 500 win (THE DAILY).