ATT NASCAR Compromise
September 7, 2007 | 2:31 P.M. EST
The agreement ends a legal dispute that saw NASCAR try to ban the company from running its logos in the series, after it bought the Cingular brand, which previously ran on RCR's No. 31.
"Our agreement with NASCAR ensured that we would be the only telecommunications sponsor beyond the two grandfathered brands," said Dean Kessel, director of Nextel Cup Series marketing for Sprint Nextel.
"Today’s agreement protects the integrity of that deal by putting a firm end date on AT&T’s sponsorship in the Nextel Cup Series.
“We are giving RCR and Jeff Burton an appropriate amount of time to transition to a new sponsor while remaining focused on winning the championship. That is the best solution for RCR, NASCAR, Sprint and racing fans.”
Jim Hunter, NASCAR's Vice President of Corporate Communications, said the agreement is not a reversal of either NASCAR's or NEXTEL's position on the matter.
"In any disagreement, people say and do things early on when they're at odds," Hutner said. "We're happy we've reached a compromise with all of the parties. If that appears to be a reversal, then so be it. We're pleased with the agreement."
The No. 31 Chevrolet, driven by Jeff Burton, had the AT&T logos emblazoned on it early Friday afternoon during practice for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
"We're very pleased to have the AT&T logos back on the No. 31 Chevrolet and to have AT&T continue as a primary sponsor for Jeff Burton and Richard Childress Racing," team owner Richard Childress said.
The agreement through next season allows Childress more time to find another sponsor for the No. 31 Chevrolet for 2009.
The agreement between the two parties does not exclude AT&T or any other communications company from sponsoring a car in the NASCAR Busch Series, which will be a under a new name in 2008. It also doesn't exclude them from sponsoring a truck in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.