Richard Childress Racing Considering Options Should Menards Leave After Season
Richard Childress Racing has been considering its options for ‘18 should primary sponsor Menards leave after this season, according to sources, an indication that the home improvement chain is eyeing a move elsewhere. Menards is said to be eyeing a move from RCR to the Team Penske/Wood Brothers alliance after this season, according to sources, though no side will confirm it. Menards Promotions Manager Jeff Abbott and RCR President Torrey Galida both declined comment about plans for the future or their current deal. Whether Menards’ deal expires after this year or if there is a clause that would allow an out was unclear, but the pact is thought to be one of the more lucrative team sponsorships in the sport at well over $10M annually. It is a season-long pact that John Menard, the founder of the Wisconsin-based chain, brings as part of a package deal that has included his son Paul as driver. The retailer often splits the primary paint scheme with one of its dozens of vendors on a weekly basis. Menard has been at RCR since ’11. If Menards leaves RCR, options would include trying to find sponsorship to keep the team’s third Cup car, the No. 27, or reducing to two Cup cars.
MUSICAL CHAIRS: Team Penske is considering bringing driver Ryan Blaney back in house from alliance team Wood Brothers, where he has been on loan. That would open up a slot for Wood Brothers Racing’s No. 21 Ford. Sources said that were the move to come to fruition, Menards could end up in the No. 21, while Blaney would slot into a third Penske car to compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, potentially the No. 12. One source said the current holdup in Penske confirming plans for a third car involves Brad Keselowski, whose deal is up after this year but who has yet to announce an extension. However, sources said Keselowski, who has indicated he wants to stay with the front-running team, is closing in on signing that extension. Menards is already a sponsor of Team Penske on the IndyCar side, and John Menard was at this year’s Indianapolis 500 to support the organization. There was also talk last year that Menards would join Penske this season, though the move never came to fruition, but the talk has been renewed this year. Wood Brothers and Team Penske declined comment.