User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Earnhardt still in the market for sponsor

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - For sale by owner: Major sponsorship for NASCAR's most popular driver.

Advertisement
Act fast, time is running out.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not only looking for his first win of the season, he's still hunting for a big-bucks sponsor for 12 Sprint Cup races this season.

Earnhardt said he's not worried, a sign that perhaps Hendrick Motorsports has a deal on the horizon.

``It is important to try to fill out what we have this season and we will,'' Earnhardt said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ``I don't have any doubt at all that we will get that done. I think we almost have to look forward beyond that to try to find out who is going to be the partner that we can put a long term deal together that matches up with what we want to do in the future.''

That's part of the problem. Hendrick and Earnhardt would love to find a primary sponsor that would fund what's left on this season's slate as well as 2014, and possibly beyond. With 16 races left, putting together a multi-year deal with a committed corporate backer seems almost impossible to pull off.

``It's just all the dollars and cents are accounted for at this point in the year,'' Earnhardt said. ``That doesn't mean we can't put some things together and do some creative stuff with some people and some partners that we already have.''

Earnhardt's sponsorship woes started when Pepsi, through Diet Mountain Dew and Amp, sliced its sponsorship from 20 races to five in 2013. The National Guard did bolster its support of the No. 88, going from 16 to 20 races. Earnhardt, who's made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship each of the last two seasons, is somewhat hindered in finding the right fit because of conflicts with committed corporate sponsors. For example, his Pepsi deal is the reason he ditched Budweiser when he signed with Hendrick for the 2008 season.

It's not like he doesn't have options. Earnhardt is one of the superstar faces of NASCAR. Even as the wins have dried up, he was still voted NASCAR's most popular driver for each of the last 10 years. Owner Rick Hendrick isn't interested in sponsors looking to work their way in for a race or two, or the kind of companies that would conflict with his corporate image.

Earnhardt was set to drive an unsponsored race at Daytona until Hendrick put the National Guard on the No. 88. He'll use the National Guard again for Sunday's race at Indy.

Another reason he can be picky: The sponsorship he does have on the 88 is so lucrative that he has one of the highest-funded cars in the garage even with available inventory.

He's also kept an eye on sponsorship for his Nationwide Series program competing under the JR Motorsports banner. Great Clips signed on as primary sponsor for 28 races this season. Great Clips and Hendrick on Friday announced a three-year extension through 2016 that bumped its primary sponsorship from three Cup races a season to 10 for Kasey Kahne's No. 5 Chevrolet. Great Clips also will serve as a major associate sponsor.

Great Clips will be on Kahne's car this weekend in Indianapolis and again for the Sept. 22 race at New Hampshire.

``They continue to see a great return on investment, and we're focused on continuing that trend by performing at a high level on the racetrack while delivering business wins,'' Hendrick said.

Earnhardt, though, said he didn't know how Great Clips' increase would affect its future relationship with his Nationwide program. He seems just as confident that he'll find the right sponsors.

``We have some potential to have some really interesting things announced down the road with that,'' he said. ``Due to how well we've run this year and how we've been able to turn that program around, we definitely caught the eyes of a few sponsors and potential partners. So, we're looking a lot better on that front, too. I think everything is going to be fine. I don't believe anybody needs to be too concerned at this point.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Roberts: Sylvania 300 Preview
F1 enters radio silence era in Singapore
Indy to race in Brazilian capital in 2015
JGR adds sponsors Stanley, DeWalt
Petty planning to run two cars next year
Dempsey makes name in sports-car racing
Grand jury to weigh case of Tony Stewart
Russian driver released from hospital
Short Chase stay for Allmendinger, Almirola
MORE HEADLINES
 
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy NFL Perfect Lineup Contest