Hendrick Staying Patient During Sponsor Search For Earnhardt's 13 Remaining Races
NASCAR team Owner Rick Hendrick will "wait patiently for the right sponsor to come along for Dale Earnhardt Jr., spending his own money or leveraging other business partners to fill the races for the sport’s most popular driver," according to Bob Pockrass of SPORTING NEWS. Hendrick for the second straight season has "started the year with 13 unsponsored races" for Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet. He will have 20 races "sponsored by the Army National Guard and five by PepsiCo brands." Hendrick has "routinely said he wouldn’t discount the price for Earnhardt," and emphasized Tuesday that Hendrick Motorsports "has no timetable or deadline to land a new deal." Hendrick last year put his hendrickcars.com website on the "hood of Earnhardt's car for some races and also put Kasey Kahne sponsor and team partner Time Warner Cable on the car at times." Hendrick: “We’ve talked to a lot of people. We’re talking to people long-term. One of the problems you have when you’ve got four teams is you’re conflicted with a lot of people.” One of those conflicts is "in the insurance field, where Earnhardt has a personal services agreement through JR Motorsports with Nationwide Insurance." Because of the Hendrick relationship with Farmers Insurance, Kahne's primary sponsor, there is "no opportunity for Nationwide to sponsor Earnhardt." Meanwhile, other teams "don’t want Hendrick to sell the sponsorship at less than what it’s worth" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 1/29).
ON PINS & NEEDLES: In Charlotte, Jim Utter reported last-minute sponsorship problems could "derail Jeb Burton’s season" in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. A team spokesperson said that if Arrowhead Electronic Cigarettes is "unable or unwilling to fund the Turner Scott Motorsports team, then the organization will have to 'review' its options." Reports surfaced Monday that the company "would not be Burton’s sponsor" for '14. Burton is the son of former NASCAR driver Ward Burton (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/28).
WHEELS & DEALS: Team Penske announced yesterday that it has entered into a multiyear deal with aircraft manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace (Penske)....IndyCar team Panther Racing Managing Partner & CEO John Barnes said that there "hasn't been a resolution" to the team's National Guard sponsorship after it was reported that the brand was leaving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. But in Indianapolis, Curt Cavin wrote it is "clear" that "no other IndyCar Series team has come forward with an announcement regarding a partnership with the National Guard" (INDYSTAR.com, 1/28).