Keep the Sponsors Happy

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The phrase ‘money makes the world go round’ is never truer than when it comes to motorsport and especially NASCAR. To run a team for a season can easily cost over $20 million, when a set of tyres for the weekend can cost well over $20,000, not to mention the cost of fuel, pit crew, transportation costs and then the biggest expense of all the driver the figures soon add up. This is where sponsors come in with their large amounts of money, after all without them there would be no teams and no sport.

Mar. 1, 2013; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew members push cars through the garage during qualifying for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As with any resource in the world the number of sponsors who can hand over the amounts that teams need are limited. Of course the amounts that teams ask for from the sponsors varies wildly depending on the level of sponsorship (e.g. the whole car, rear quarter panel etc.) and the size of the team. To be a primary sponsor can cost anywhere from $5 – 35 million (, and the amount of sponsorship can alter a teams level of participation in a race (hence start and parks) so good sponsors are hard to find and when a team finds one will do all they can to hang on to them.

This is why there will have been much relief around the workshop of Richard Childress Racing this week when it was announced that when Ryan Newman joins them for next season he will bring with him his sponsor Quicken Loans with whom he has been sponsored by since 2012. They will sponsor his 31 car for 12 races next season with the teams current sponsor CAT continuing its heavy presence by still sponsoring the car in 24 races next season.

The way Ryan has handled some very tough situations this year, while also continuing to ignore the noise and perform at a high-level, made our decision to stick with him a no-brainer. He embodies what we stand for each and every day.” said Jay Farner, President and chief marketing officer of Quicken Loans.

Sep 14, 2013; Joliet, IL, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (39) talks to his crew in the garage during practice for the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure there were people in both Newman’s camp and RCR that had hoped that one of his current sponsors ‘Outback’ would also follow him and that would allow them to have a full sponsorship package for next year. But Outback have decided to stay with Newman’s current team Stewart-Haas Racing and will transfer their sponsorship to Kevin Harvick and his number 4 car when he joins the team at the end of this season. Of course one of the main pulls of SHR bringing Harvick to the team was that he would be bringing his main sponsor Budweiser with him who will be sponsoring the 4 car for 20 races next season. More good news came for the new 4 team only a few days ago when it was announced that another one of Harvick’s current sponsor’s ‘Jimmie Johns’ would also be following him to SHR. They will be his primary sponsor for 12 races as well as being an associate sponsor for the remaining races for him and being an associate sponsor for Tony Stewart’s 14 team.

Of course it is not always possible to get a sponsor when a driver becomes available as SHR also demonstrated last month when they announced that Kurt Busch would be joining them next season (in the rumoured to be number 41 car). With Kurt currently running in a team that is sponsored by the team owner he had no sponsors to bring with him, so instead Gene Haas will be personally funding the team.

“You’d win a lot of races. I’d really be happy for my company Haas to be in the winner’s circle. I’ve never been there. I want to be there with that name. I know Kurt has had a lot of sponsorship issues, but to me, I just want to win. I’m not too much worried about that stuff.”

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