With NASCAR silly season in full swing, attracting sponsorship is of the utmost importance. A couple of top tier drivers are in need of sponsorship dollars following the conclusion of the 2010 Sprint Cup season.
Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon immediately come to mind. Last month, Shell-Pennzoil revealed their intentions for 2011, which includes departing Richard Childress Racing to join Penske Racing and driver Kurt Busch. The timing could not have been worse for RCR, as they are endeavoring to work out a deal to re-sign Kevin Harvick. Without a fixed sponsor, it makes the negotiation process a bit more stressful for Childress, who hopes to have Harvick’s contract competed by the end of May.
Jeff Gordon and ‘Sponsor me, please!’ does not go together. Nevertheless, one of NASCAR’s most marketable and accomplished driver admitted that his Hendrick Motorsports team is pursuing sponsorship options for 2011. In fact, they were in the running for the Shell-Pennzoil sponsorship package. While DuPont will likely remain with the team, the company that has been with Gordon since his rookie season in 1993 may reduce its role on the No. 24 Chevrolet.
Mobil 1 and Budweiser are two lucrative sponsors that could be exploring their options for 2011 and beyond. Budweiser will likely depart Richard Petty Motorsports following the 2010 season after three seasons with Kasey Kahne. Of course, we all are aware that Kahne signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports.
Many speculate that Budweiser could end with RCR or Hendrick Motorsports.
Mobil 1 is leaving Penske Racing now that Shell-Pennzoil is on board for 2011. Mobil 1 and Penske enjoyed a relatively fruitful partnership for over a decade ago. Mobil 1 has not indicated that they are ready to leave NASCAR altogether, so they could emerge as a possibility for HMS or RCR.
For someone like me, who is not privy to inside information, Mobil 1 to HMS and Gordon make the most sense, and Budweiser to RCR and Harvick is believable. Mobil 1 shared sponsorship in the past with Alltel from 2002 to 2007 for driver Ryan Newman, so they could share the primary role with DuPont for Jeff Gordon.
RCR could be looking for a sponsor that occupies most, if not all, primary sponsorship duties. Budweiser could fill that full-time primary sponsorship role. Harvick would represent the Budweiser product well, as he appeals to wide range of fans that likely enjoy downing a few cans of Budweiser.
RCR and HMS are not limited to Mobil1 and Budweiser, however.
“There are sponsors that are not even in the sport that are interested,” said RCR owner Richard Childress Friday at Darlington.
Richard Petty Motorsports, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, and Stewart-Haas Racing are in the market for additional sponsorship.