By admin | December 20, 2011
By Richard Allen
In one of the least surprising moves of the current off season, it was made official on Tuesday morning that electronics provider Best Buy was ending its association with Richard Petty Motorsports to partner with Roush Fenway Racing for the 2012 season. The deal is for the company to serve as primary sponsor on the #17 Fords of Matt Kenseth for nine races, on the #99 Fords of Carl Edwards for two races and on both cars as associate sponsor when not in the primary role.
While that announcement does in fact answer the question of which team the sponsor will align itself, there are a number of other questions that arise in the wake of the move.
First, the deal with RFR is only for nine races on the #17 car. Last year in a model that seems to be the emerging trend in racing sponsorship, Kensethâ€™s ride carried a number of different primary backers that were pieced together throughout the season. So, will there be other sponsors to come on board the that car in 2012? And if so, who?
Second, where does the Best Buy announcement leave Richard Petty Motorsports? The two car operation that had planned on fielding rides for both Marcos Ambrose in the #9 car and A.J. Allmendinger in the #43 machine(which had been sponsored by Best Buy), now finds itself seriously lacking in sponsorship funding. So, will this organization be able to maintain two cars? Will the famous number #43 remain on track? And, will Allmendinger have a ride going forward?
And more, this move seemingly casts a dark shadow on the hopes of Kurt Busch securing a fulltime ride for 2012. The 2004 Sprint Cup champion had been rumored to move into the #43 car replacing Allmendinger in an attempt to keep Best Buy in the RPM stable. Now, with the sponsor leaving, it would appear unlikely that the team would want to commit the dollars necessary to secure a driver of Buschâ€™s stature.
All in all, the announcement that Best Buy is going to Roush Fenway Racing only manages to answer the question of which cars will actually carry that companyâ€™s colors in 2012. Beyond that, there are a number of questions left unanswered.
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