Jimmy John’s signed a 12-race primary sponsorship deal with Stewart-Haas Racing that will allow it to extend its five-year association with driver Kevin Harvick. The sandwich franchise joins Anheuser-Busch and Outback as a primary sponsor of Harvick’s No. 4 car, and leaves SHR with just four available races to sell for next season. Jimmy John’s has sponsored Harvick since '09 when it signed a 10-race deal with his now-shuttered Nationwide Series team, Kevin Harvick Inc. The company has expanded from 825 franchises to more than 1,600 stores since then (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer). USA TODAY's Jeff Gluck writes because Harvick "wasn't allowed to campaign for his sponsors to leave" Richard Childress Racing and follow him to SHR, yesterday's news "was that much sweeter." Harvick: "It almost gives me a better feeling. It's very rewarding that we're able to move forward without having been able to be involved in those negotiations" (USA TODAY, 9/25). Harvick added, "Part of the intrigue of the Stewart-Haas situation was for me when I signed my contract, we had no sponsor, no team, no number, nothing, and from a contractual side, I couldn't really be involved in any of the sponsorship stuff that was going on so that I could focus on the racing at hand this year. It's been an interesting time for me because in the past we have been so involved in the things that are going on. But to see Budweiser and Jimmy John's and to have Outback come on board next year is pretty satisfying for me" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/25).
TIME TO SHAKE AND BAKE: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch this morning announced his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Sprint Cup entry will be sponsored by Wonder Bread for the Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 20. Busch made the announcement on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends" and said, “The Wonder Bread brand is now going to be back on the shelves, and we're doing an official re-launch with the NASCAR program. NASCAR, with all the sponsorship things going on, this shows that a company wants to be involved in our sport." Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade noted Wonder Bread was the main sponsor for Will Ferrell’s character Ricky Bobby in the ’06 movie "Talladega Nights" and said the movie is being brought to life with the deal ("Fox & Friends," Fox News, 9/25).
NAPA KNOW-HOW: ESPN.com's Terry Blount said of NAPA ending its sponsorship with Michael Waltrip Racing after this month's race manipulation scandal, "Frankly, it makes me wonder whether NAPA wasn't already thinking about it and it gave the company a convenient excuse to pull the plug and save face. Yes, MWR made an embarrassing mistake that reflected poorly on the company, but not enough to end a long partnership that has benefited NAPA with a highly successful ad campaign involving Waltrip and Truex on numerous TV commercials." ESPN's Ryan McGee said, "I don't blame NAPA at all. ... To try to call it out as disloyal for walking away from a final straw of embarrassment is laughable. ... If they want to pack it up and take it to a team where they think they can win without being shamed, they can do it." ESPN.com's David Newton said, "As funny as Waltrip is in those NAPA commercials, his organization embarrassed the sponsor with the 'jet fuel' scandal at Daytona in 2007. The Richmond scandal was worse." ESPN's Marty Smith said, "It's awful for the sport. It sets a terrible, terrible precedent" (ESPN.com, 9/24).