Jimmie Johnson Confirms Sponsorship Talks With Red Bull
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson confirmed that Red Bull is "one of the companies he and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team have had discussions with about possible sponsorship beginning next season," according to Jim Utter of MOTORSPORT.com. Johnson said, "There is definitely some interest there. ... There is interest from a variety of different companies." Utter noted Red Bull operated a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team for five seasons "before shutting its doors" in December '11. Lowe's has been Johnson's "primary sponsor" since joining the Cup Series full-time in '02. The home improvement store chain announced earlier this season that '18 would "be its final year as a primary sponsor." Johnson has "taken an active role in the sponsorship search." He said, "We will hopefully have something to announce in the near future" (MOTORSPORT.com, 5/24). YAHOO SPORTS' Nick Bromberg wrote any company or companies who "elect to sponsor Johnson will likely want to spend serious activation money." The pairing of Lowe's and Johnson became "one of the most recognizable in the sport's history and it will take a serious marketing push to get casual fans to understand that Johnson is no longer sponsored by Lowe's" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/24). AUTOWEEK's Kenny Bruce noted Monster Energy holds title sponsorship to the Cup Series through '19, and it is not known if Monster's deal "includes an exclusivity clause that would prohibit competitors like Red Bull from sponsorship opportunities" (AUTOWEEK.com, 5/24).