Rick Hendrick announced Wednesday that Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, still has 13 unsponsored races in 2013.
It is hard to imagine that NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is still looking for sponsorship as the new season is just around the corner, but it’s true. Maybe it’s the economy, ticket sales or the asking price. We may never truly know. But one thing we have learned, finding sponsorship for premier NASCAR teams is as hard as it has ever been. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s situation is a prime example.
But will NASCAR’s most popular driver really go unsponsored in 2013?
Rick Hendrick said that Earnhardt’s car has sponsors for all races up though the summer months. It is 13 races in the remaining 2013 season that need sponsorship. But Rick Hendrick is confident the No. 88 car will have a primary sponsor for all 36 races in 2013. It is just a matter of working out the details and finding the right deal.
Hendrick will not settle for just any sponsorship, including when it comes to the asking price. Rick Hendrick went as far as to say he will sponsor the car himself rather than sell sponsorship for a lesser rate than expected. He does not want to make a cut in budget in order to have a sponsor for Dale Earnhardt.
But Hendrick stated that there are two or three sponsorship deals that are seriously being considered for the remaining 13 races in 2013. Some potential sponsors want to be on the hood for all 36 races and some for less than 13. There seems to be no cause for concern in the Hendrick camp and that is just a matter of details and time. It is about finding the right deal for all parties involved.
As Rick Hendrick said, there is no need for concern and it’s more about finding the right deal. It is hard fathom the sport’s most popular driver, for ten years in a row, would be without sponsorship.
With multiple options on the table for the No. 88, it would be hard to believe Earnhardt will be unsponsored come the second half of the season. Rick Hendrick won’t let it happen.