2015 Sponsorships Set for Many Teams

Matt Kenseth

Dollar General returns as a primary sponsor for Matt Kenseth and will be on his car 30 races next season, an increase of three races. (Photo: Getty Images)


Some top NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have sold their primary sponsorships for all of next season, but space remains on the cars of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer four months before the 2015 season begins.

Among the teams that have sold all their primary sponsorship for next year are Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. 

“It’s certainly not easy finding a sponsor, but there was an abundant amount of interest in our sport and in our team,’’ said Dave Alpern, chief marketing officer at Joe Gibbs Racing, which expands to four cars next season.

Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, says that the three-car organization has fewer primary sponsorship openings then it did at this time a year ago. Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer at Richard Childress Racing, says that his three-car organization also is ahead in selling sponsorships, noting some companies were willing to start negotiations earlier.

“I think the climate is getting better,’’ Newmark said. “It’s not where we need to be, but I think the whole sport is doing a better job of marketing.’’          

Newmark credits more collaboration with NASCAR compared to when he arrived at Roush four years ago. Newmark also said that the team has made many changes to better serve sponsors.

That’s a key ingredient for many teams and it offsets the potential for a smaller TV audience next season with the departure of ESPN, which is in 95.3 million homes. 

Twenty of next season’s 36 points races will be on either Fox Sports 1 or NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) with the remaining races on FOX and NBC. Fox Sports 1 is in 85.2 million homes. NBCSN is carried in 85 million homes. 

“We all shared that same fear of trying to develop young cable networks,’’ said Ty Norris, executive vice president of business development for Michael Waltrip Racing.

“(But) we just left a meeting Friday morning with NBC executives. I walked out of there ready to run through a wall. These guys are so motivated to utilize the platforms that are already there to promote NASCAR. They are heavily invested to make sure the viewership is up to maintain their advertising rates. Their goal and their edict is to build the audience for everyone - for NASCAR, for themselves, for the teams. I feel much better after listening to the direction they’re going.’’

Other team officials who attended the meeting echoed Norris’ comments.

With five races left in this season, here’s a look at where sponsorship stands for in 2015 some of the sport’s top teams.

Hendrick Motorsports

Jeff Gordon’s car is sold out. Drive to End Hunger will be the primary sponsor for 13 races with 3M the primary for 11 races. The remaining races will feature Panasonic, PepsiCo and Axalta.

Jimmie Johnson’s car is sold out with Lowe’s and its brands.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car has 11 races yet to be sold. He’ll have Nationwide as a primary sponsor for 21 races, PepsiCo for five races and Kelley Blue Book for one. Nationwide originally was scheduled to be the primary sponsor for 12 races but added nine races after The National Guard announced it would not return next season. 

Kasey Kahne’s car has 10 races yet to be sold. He’ll have Farmers Insurance on for 12 races, Great Clips for 10, Time Warner Cable for five and PepsiCo for one.

Team Penske

Joey Logano’s car is sold out. Shell-Pennzoil will be on the car for 32 races (it will be on the car for 33 races this year). The American Automobile Association (AAA) will be on the car for three races and AutoTrader for one.

Brad Keselowski’s car will have Miller Lite back along with Alliance Truck Parts and Detroit Genuine Parts. An announcement is expected soon on another sponsor that will help fill out next season’s sponsorship.

Joe Gibbs Racing

Primary sponsorship on Matt Kensth’s car is sold out with Dollar General on the car for 30 races next year (up from 27 this year) and DeWalt taking the other six points races.

Kyle Busch’s car also is sold out with primary sponsorship from the Mars brands and Interstate Batteries. Denny Hamlin’s car is sold out with primary sponsorships from FedEx and Sport Clips.

Carl Edwards joins the team next season and has a few races left on his car. Arris, a new sponsor to the sport, will be the primary sponsor for 17 races with Stanley on the car for 12 races. Dave Alpern, JGR’s chief marketing officer, says four races are about to be sold, which would leave three races left. That gives JGR the opportunity to allow a company to try the Sprint Cup series in a limited role and without spending too much money.

“What’s neat about (Edwards’) car is that you have a technology company (Arris) and a tried-and-true brand in Stanley partnered together,’’ Alpern said.

Stewart-Haas Racing

A team official said that the team’s sponsors are back next season.

Kevin Harvick’s car again will feature Budweiser and Jimmy John’s as primary sponsors for a majority of the races. The team recently announced that DiTech Mortgage Company will serve as a primary sponsor for two races next year.

Tony Stewart’s car will have Mobil 1, Bass Pro Shops and Code 3 on the car with GoDaddy and Aspen Dental on Danica Patrick’s car next year. Kurt Busch’s car again will have Haas Automation and State Water Heaters. 

Roush Fenway Racing

While Steve Nemark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, says that the organization has sold more primary sponsorship at this time than a year ago, there are still some races left for two of the team’s three cars.

The team previously announced that Ortho will be a sponsor on Greg Biffle’s car next season. The team has yet to announce a pending agreement with another company. That deal will leave about no more than eight races left on Biffle’s car for next season.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be sponsored by Fastenal, Zest and Fifth Third, among others. Newmark said about eight races remain to fill Stenhouse’s car for next season.

Trevor Bayne joins the team next season and will have Advocare as his primary sponsor the car for the races in 2015.

Richard Childress Racing

Quicken Loans and Caterpillar return to Ryan Newman’s team next season. Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer at Richard Childress Racing, said that they are “still working through a couple of pieces, but it’s in pretty good shape’‘ with Newman’s car.

Dow and American Ethanol are among the companies back on Austin Dillon’s car with more renewals expected to be announced soon. With those deals in place, Schlosser said they have “a pretty small amount” left to fill on Dillon’s car.

Paul Menard again will be sponsored by Menards and its vendor partners next season. 

Chip Ganassi Racing

The organization celebrated its 25th year with Target this season and that relationship will continue next year on Kyle Larson’s car. Target and its brands will be the primary sponsor on Larson’s car for all of next season.

McDonald’s and Cessna will return to Jamie McMurray’s team. Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing, said both companies are increasing their number of races as a primary sponsor but declined to say how many races for each. Already this season, the two companies have been the primary sponsor or co-primary sponsor in 29 races, including non-points events.

“If you ask me, with the reach of this sport, with the business-to-business opportunities of this sport, with the consumer passion of this sport, almost every company could do something, it’s just being creative enough to find out what the something is,’’ Lauletta said.

JTG Daugherty Racing

Car owners Tad and Jodi Geschickter and Brad Daugherty will again have a variety of companies serving as the primary sponsor on AJ Allmendinger’s car next season.

Kimberly-Clark Corporation, whose brands include Scott, Kleenex and Huggies, among others, will be a primary sponsor for eight races. Clorox and Kingsford will be a primary sponsor for nine races. Bush’s Baked Beans will be a primary sponsor for eight races. Southeastern Mills has two races,as does Charter Communications, and House-Autry Mills for one race. Tad Geschickter says the team is in negotiations with a company for five races. 

He said being in the Chase this year provided added value for the organization. Since the team didn’t earn a spot in the Chase until Allmendinger’s win at Watkins Glen two months ago, he said it’s hard to tell if there was a bump because some deals were already done or talks underway. 

Richard Petty Motorsports

Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer for Richard Petty Motorsports, says that Smithfield and STP will be back on Aric Almirola’s car next season, leaving a couple of open races on that car.

On the car Sam Hornish Jr. will drive next season, the team has only announced that Twisted Tea will be back. Moffitt said they hope to be able to announce a sponsor for that car in about two weeks. Once that deal is complete, Moffitt said the team will have half the races unsold for that car. 

“We’re looking in good shape,’’ he said. “We’re having a lot of discussions. Now that we were able to announce Sam (as the team’s new driver), that should help us lock in some of this sponsorship.’’

Moffitt said that having Almirola in the Chase “opened up a lot more doors for us. Any time you’re performing like that and you’re being talked about it just continues to show that we’ve been improving all year.’’

Michael Waltrip Racing

Clint Bowyer’s car again will have 5-hour Energy next season. Ty Norris, executive vice president of business development for Michael Waltrip Racing, said that 5-hour Energy will be on the car for 24 races. Peak will the primary sponsor for three races and AAA Insurance will be back for two races. That leaves some races remaining on that car.

“We need to get the car filled,’’ Norris said. “It puts a lot of pressures in other areas to not have those full. I would hope we would be able to get something done in the next few months before we hit Daytona.’’

Among the races open on Bowyer’s car are Atlanta (second race of the year), Indianapolis and the Texas race in the Chase - races that can provide a higher profile than others because of their place on the schedule, market size or location in the Chase.

Brian Vickers’ car is sold with Aaron’s back for all the races next season.



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