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Volume 25 No. 88
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Hendrick Isn't Ruling Out Lowe's Returning In Limited Role To No. 48

New executives at Lowe's have led to the retailer re-engaging in talks with HMS
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Hendrick Motorsports is continuing to try to find sponsorship for its No. 48 Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson next season, and there are signs emerging that the team has a couple worthwhile leads that are developing. Lowe’s announced earlier this year that it would leave HMS and NASCAR as a sport after this season, but sources said that HMS has re-engaged Lowe’s on the possibility of returning next year on a partial basis. Sources said the move to re-engage Lowe’s came, at least in part, because the home-improvement retailer has seen a host of exec changes in recent months in areas including marketing. Some of the new execs are said to be more favorable to sports marketing or motorsports than their predecessors. That includes President & CEO Marvin Ellison and Chair Rick Dreiling. Dollar General had a robust NASCAR program under Dreiling's watch when he served as company CEO. It is unclear how far along talks are with Lowe’s, which is represented by GMR Marketing, or whether it will lead to any sponsorship. Sources noted that it is still possible that Lowe’s will decide to just do a personal-services agreement with Johnson, if anything. Lowe's expiring, season-long deal with HMS was thought to be worth at least $20M, but HMS' rates for '19 were unclear. Meanwhile, sources said that HMS has at least one other separate lead for the No. 48 that is far enough along that it involved a meeting this week at HMS HQ near Charlotte with team Owner Rick Hendrick, Johnson and team co-Owner Jeff Gordon in attendance. The identity of the brand was unclear; HMS declined comment.