By admin | April 22, 2010
By Richard Allen
It was recently announced that the Shell Oil Company and its Pennzoil brand would leave Richard Childress Racing, which it has sponsored since 2007, to join forces with Penske Racing South and driver Kurt Busch.
There is never a good time for a NASCAR team to lose a sponsor, and these trying economic times are certainly no different. However, in an odd twist of events, this could(and I emphasize the word COULD) work out in RCRâ€™s favor.
Because Kasey Kahne is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports there is the possibility that his current sponsor, Budweiser, may be looking for somewhere to land in 2011 and beyond. Kahneâ€™s eventual new home, Hendrick Motorsports, and Bud seem reluctant to sign for a second stint with each other(Budweiser was once the sponsor for the #25 HMS car). And with RPMâ€™s future looking very much in doubt, â€˜The King of Beersâ€™ almost certainly will be looking to begin a new relationship elsewhere.
With two major ifs to be considered, RCR could come out on top of this wrangling. IF they are able to re-sign driver Kevin Harvick or bring in a driver of equal notoriety, and IF they can lure Budweiser to their camp, they will be better off than before.
With all its ability to market and with its significant appeal among the NASCAR fan base, Budweiser has long been regarded as one of the top sponsors in the sport. Not only would the beer maker provide ample funding to finance a top NASCAR team, but their marketing arm would provide exposure to whatever team they sponsor that would serve to broaden a driverâ€™s fan base among a highly coveted demographic. That in turn can help a team lure other sponsors to fill associate roles.
And more, Budweiser just seems more suited for NASCAR. Shell, which is a Dutch company, has more the feel of a Formula 1 or IndyCar sponsor than a stock car backer. To back that statement, one consideration the company noted for switching teams was the ability to place their logo on Roger Penskeâ€™s IndyCar machines.
Should a couple of major COULDâ€™s and IFâ€™s fall the right way, Richard Childress Racing could find themselves in better shape going into next season than they are right now, even with the loss of a primary sponsor.
But, of course, it might not work out at all.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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