Money, Money, Money

Remember when the NASCAR community freaked out over Lowes parting ways as a primary sponsor for Jimmie Johnson? This worry leads many to believe that this was, once again, the end of NASCAR as we know it? Well, put the hammers down and the nails away because sponsorship has been found!

Ally Financial has partnered with Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson for the remaining two years of his contract. While they might be Jimmie’s last years in the sport, the primary sponsorship and commitment of Ally are genuine toward the 7-time champion and vise versa.

This example isn’t the first time a primary sponsor has left the sport. Most recently, the retail giant Target has pulled their sponsorship from all forms of motorsports. They are leaving 5-time champion (then 4-time champion), Scott Dixon, NASCAR young gun Kyle Larson and Chip Ganassi Racing as a whole.

Target’s reasoning for pulling out of the sport was that they wanted to focus their advertisement dollars in other markets. They felt that their exposer had run its course, and Lowes felt the same way. It’s just the circle of marketing.

The model of primary sponsorship is coming to an end. (*gasp) Racing is expensive, and sponsors are getting harder to come by. Asking one company to invest double-digit millions of dollars on a year of racing is a tough sell. This is why fans are seeing multiple liveries throughout the year and hear the laundry list of sponsors during interviews.

For a sponsor, it is cheaper to sponsor 3-5 races and gain exposer to their products on these 200 mph moving billboards. For the team, it makes finances more flexible and offers more availability toward those who want to enter the sport without committing to a full year. Each team is different, but the concepts are the same, how do we maximize our dollars to put together the best race team on the track?

So, for the next time we complain about interviews sounding too corporate or roll our eyes the next time someone says “The Coca-Cola, Cheerios, Valvoline, Subway, Netflix, Yahoo, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s (insert favorite car manufacturer) ran a great race today.” Just remember, without those sponsors, you’d have to find a new driver to cheer for on Sundays.

Scott Masom

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