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« It’s been a rather eventless ‘Race to the Chase’ in 2010 | Main | Here are some reasons for NASCAR to fine drivers »

Like Kenseth last year, former champ Gordon scrambling to find new sponsorship

By admin | August 31, 2010

By Richard Allen

 

Remember when the talk around this time of year was whether or not some of the lower tier teams in NASCAR would find sufficient sponsorship for the next season? Well, that’s not exactly the case now.

For the second year in a row an organization that fields cars for a former Sprint Cup champion is searching for a backer. Last year, Roush Fenway Racing had to shuffle Crown Royal, which sponsored a team being forced to fold by a NASCAR team limit mandate, over to Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford. Kenseth had been sponsored by DeWalt Tools since his rookie season prior to that company’s announcement they would leave the sport in 2010.

At first, Crown Royal only looked to place its name on Kenseth’s machine for a limited number of races. However, after RFR searched for additional sponsorship, it was finally announced that Crown Royal would be the primary backer on the car of the 2003 champion for the bulk of the 2010 season.

This year, it is Hendrick Motorsports looking to find sponsorship on the car #24 of four time champion Jeff Gordon. Longtime backer DuPont has announced a decision to reduce their role with the team and driver they have worked with for the better part of two decades.

Rumors initially had it that retailing giant Wal-Mart was going to step in and take up the slack left by DuPont in 2011. But now, such does not appear to be the case as it has been reported that the company issued a recent statement denying those rumors.

The fact that for the second year in a row a former champion is losing a longtime sponsor and is having to scramble to find a new backer speaks volumes. It speaks to the fact that the economy has drained companies that once seemed to have money available to throw away. It speaks to the high price of competing in this sport. And, it speaks to the fact that companies no longer seem to be lining up for a chance to be associated with NASCAR and its teams, no matter who the driver/spokesman might be.

Like Kenseth, Gordon will have sponsorship. However, obtaining that sponsorship will not be the foregone conclusion it would have been a few years ago for a still competitive former champion.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

7 Responses to “Like Kenseth last year, former champ Gordon scrambling to find new sponsorship”

  1. zhills fan Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 5:06 am

    NASCAR as a whole needs to be parred back. It just costs too much to race in the 3 top divisions. How can you justify spending 20,000,000 dollars just to paste your companies name on the side of a race car. Unbelievable how these companies (lol, race teams) can talk these sponsors out of so much money. Well folks the times are a changing and get over the fact that you think you need so much money, cause it’s over.

  2. Ken Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I agree that Cup racing has become prohibitively expensive. I don’t know how you could reverse it without going to a full IROC car with crate engines. The rich will win and the others will struggle. I think many companies that have dropped their sponsorship of race cars have realized that they are not getting a good return on their investment. The fans see the brand names on the race cars but they then go out and buy Chinese knockoffs or generic products. The companies have come to realize that they are better off with lower prices than adding a twenty million sponsorship to the cost of their products.

  3. midasmicah Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 9:17 am

    This column speaks volumes about the state of the sport. nas$car in it’s present state is dying a slow death.

  4. JT Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    The Wal-Mart sponsorship with the #24 got fairly close to fruition, but rumor has it that there were too many moving parts to be syncronized in this deal for it to go forward.

    It was said that Wal-Mart wanted full control of the sponsorship of the #24 with the right to sell off races to their retail suppliers as they saw fit. They also had a problem with the existing Hendrick deals on the other cars with Lowe’s, Pepsi (Amp, Gatorade), Go Daddy and Quaker State. But I think the real kicker was their insistence that they become The Official Merchandiser of NASCAR (I’m sure Target was thrilled to hear this!).

    I’m surprised that NASCAR and the team owners didn’t wake up when the Bud primary sponsorship was reduced from 38 races with RPM in 2010, to 20 races with RCR in 2011 (a 47% hit)!

    As for this article, I’m surprised you did not mention (former champion) Tony Stewart losing Old Spice (Proctor & Gamble). In a recent interview with the press, Stewart was said to be very testy after being asked how his sponsorship hunt was going.

    It is getting really late in the season to be hunting for a $10M to $25M sponsor……..

  5. Alvin Davenport Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    When I saw the first “tool box” with seats and a TV screen, I said someone is going to see through this! The big money race teams have wasted so much money over the past 8-10 years it will be interesting to see them function on reduced budgets. Unfortunately, when they try to cut back, the first ones affected are the employees. They don’t think they can cut back on equipment or toys, but they can reduce salaries. I expect you’ll still see the big rigs, motor coaches, and “tool boxes”, but there will be fewer employees around them.

  6. Charles Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Mabe downsizing Nascar is a good thing!

    Money has yet to provide better sports, name one thats better since mega owners are involved!

    I really dont feel bad when these multi top tier teams have trouble finding sponsorship!

    I have watched Nascar a very long time, and its these big money teams that didnt mine running the little teams out of business, such as Bud Moore, Hoss Ellington,Leo Jackson,Andy Petree, etc!

    Since the upper management of Nascar seems aloof to what the ‘basic fan” want to see changed in the sport and would rather pay big money to ‘Brand Imaging” consultants, who are really “yes men”!

    Not having the infield full of motorhomes, in exchange for more ‘little teams’ and less corporate influence or money controlled teams is just what the doctor ordered!

    Fans voting with their pocketbooks may pay off!!!!

  7. 4d4evr Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    GREED, the France family and everyone else is killing the golden goose by taking their portion off the top. Greed kills everything, how much money do the uber rich need, see wall street.

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