Nationwide to Sponsor Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Nationwide will sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Sprint Cup team for 12 races in 2015 and 13 races in 2016 and 2017. (Photo: Nationwide Insurance)

Nationwide has signed to be a primary sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Sprint Cup team for three seasons, beginning in 2015.

Nationwide will be the primary sponsor for Earnhardt’s No. 88 team at Hendrick Motorsports for 12 races in 2015 and 13 races in 2016 and 2017. Nationwide also will be an associate sponsor on his car throughout those seasons.

“It's a great fit,’’ Earnhardt said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. “I can't imagine a better scenario. Our current partners, National Guard and Diet Mountain Dew are very excited to have them in the fold.’’

Provided National Guard returns to the No. 88 team at the same level - military sponsors must do their contracts on a year-to-year basis - Earnhardt could be all but set for sponsorship next year. National Guard is doing 20 races this season. PepsiCo is doing five races a year in a deal through 2015. That would be 25 races. With the 12 races from Nationwide Insurance, that would put sponsorship next year of Earnhardt's car at 37 races out of a total 38 events (including the two non-points races).

Nationwide announced last year that it would end its run as the entitlement sponsor for NASCAR’s second-largest series at the end of this season. Nationwide had been the title sponsor since 2008.

Despite the changes, Matt Jauchius, chief marketing officer for Nationwide Insurance, said that the company “will be spending as much, if not more, in NASCAR in 2015 as we are in 2014.’’

Nationwide will retain its personal services contract with Danica Patrick. Nationwide also is the official auto, home, life and business partner of NASCAR through 2017. Jauchius said that Nationwide is in talks with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. about a possible personal services deal after this season.

Nationwide is sponsoring Stenhouse in seven Sprint Cup races this season.

With Nationwide sponsoring Earnhardt next year, that could give Hendrick Motorsports two insurance companies as sponsors.

Kasey Kahne, Earnhardt’s teammate, is sponsored by Farmers Insurance. Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement regarding Farmers' status: "Our team has a terrific relationship with the people at Farmers Insurance, and we're having positive discussions about the future. The announcement regarding the No. 88 team does not impact our ability to continue the partnership beyond 2014."

Jauchius also isn’t concerned about the possibility of two insurance companies within the same organization.

“We respect Hendrick Motorsports’ needs to do their business of sponsorship,’’ Jauchius said. 

Jauchius said that Nationwide is “exploring a broader relationship with Rick Hendrick, his dealerships and his businesses.’’

 

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