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Volume 25 No. 214
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Target Leaving CGR's No. 42 Cup Series Car, Completing Exit From Motorsports

Target has informed Chip Ganassi Racing that it will not renew its deal with driver Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Chevy after this season, marking a complete exit from motorsports once the pact expires. Target has had a significant presence with CGR for 28 years overall and 16 years on the NASCAR side, where it has been since ’02. However, amid several exec changes in recent years, the Minneapolis-based retailer has been transitioning out as it shifts to more of a soccer focus. That transition started with leaving CGR’s IndyCar operation last year and furthered earlier this year by cutting back on the amount of races it sponsored Larson’s No. 42. The move leaves Ganassi in the position of being able to find a new anchor partner for Larson right as the 24-year-old starts to hit his stride in NASCAR, where he is increasingly being touted as one of the sport’s next stars. NASCAR observers will be keeping an eye on how fans react to the exit in terms of future purchasing consideration. While no team wants to see a sponsor leave, Ganassi may be in as strong a position as possible to weather Target’s departure from the No. 42, given Larson’s rise to stardom over the past 12 months. He has posted three wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series over the last calendar year, including two this season, and currently sits second in the Cup Series points list.

FILLING IN THE GAPS: Target ran a vendor model in NASCAR where it split costs of the program with its in-store vendors who wanted to co-promote their brands in NASCAR. Ganassi could look to build a similar model depending on who it lands as its new anchor partner. Credit One Bank originally came to CGR in ’16 with five races on driver Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Chevy, but it shifted this season to picking up inventory on the No. 42 as well once Target cut back. CGR President Steve Lauletta said the Credit One deal has “been a great success all around, and now we’ll just have to do that again, and we will do that again. We feel like the potential for us is just sort of starting, and we’re happy that we’ve got a lot of conversations already going on that we can now put Kyle and the No. 42 in the middle of and get ourselves set for the future.”

THE EYE OF THE STORM: Larson has generated enough on-air TV time that Nielsen says that for the first time since the inception of its Sport24 program, fellow NASCAR team sponsor Lowe’s was surpassed by another brand -- in this case Target -- as the most valuable primary sponsor at the midway point of the season. The data indicates that Larson's sponsors had the highest 100% media equivalency value at $111M through Sonoma, or $25M in QI media equivalency. Lauletta this morning said, “We’re positioned (to deal with the transition) really strongly by the on-track performance that we’ve been delivering lately, and also what we do for brands and partners off the track.” The team said that it already has a multirace sponsor for this season that is new to both the team and sport that it will be introducing in the coming weeks. Though the precise term is unknown, Larson is still under a long-term contract with the team after this season.