|Companies pay big dollars to be a
Sponsor in NASCAR
In today’s economy, it has become a common site in the NASCAR garage to see a revolving door of sponsors. NASCAR’s official businesses, official products, and even series sponsors have changed hands over time. Many teams have also seen sponsors pull back sponsorship or pull out of the sport completely. A few drivers have felt the threat of lost sponsorship due to actions on their own part. Even fewer drivers have been able to maintain a steady relationship with a sponsor without seeing much change or pull-back.
The Busch Brothers, Kurt and Kyle, have both seen how their actions can affect their place with a team, how crucial sponsors are and how much influence they hold within a team. Kurt found himself suspended by Roush for the final two races following an off-track incident at Phoenix in 2005. Kyle saw M&Ms pull their sponsorship for the final two Cup races of the 2011 season and having Z-Line ask for someone else to drive the Nationwide car after his actions at Texas.
Drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have maintained a long lasting relationship with their sponsors. Johnson’s relationship with Lowes began when he started in Cup in 2001. Gordon’s relationship with DuPont dates back to 1992 when he made his first start at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart has also seen a long lasting relationship with sponsors. His relationship with sponsors has extended beyond NASCAR to his dirt racing efforts both personally, as well as the cars he fields for his drivers in the World of Outlaws.
|Great Clips sponsorship includes the
Nationwide Race in Altanta annually
Many people are familiar with long standing sponsors like Lowes, DuPont, Interstate Batteries, and M&Ms just to name a few, given their prominence in NASCAR’s top-tier series. There are a few sponsors that also have long standing ties with one of NASCAR’s lower series as well. One such sponsor is Great Clips, who holds the distinction of being the longest running sponsor in the Nationwide Series. They entered the sport in 2001, adorning the hood of the #38 car for what was then Akins Motorsports with driver Christian Elder. As the years have passed, Great Clips has seen several drivers tote their brand to the public and has seen the fruits of their labor pay dividends as their brand has grown and expanded both in and out of NASCAR. The company now has over 3,000 salons nationwide and has seen their sponsorship expand to the title sponsorship of a Nationwide event every year at Atlanta.
|Joey Saldana with the Great Clips Sprint Sponsorship
at Kasey Kahne Racing
(photo from Kasey Kahne Racing)
Kasey Kahne has maintained a long lasting relationship with Great Clips, which started in 2003 when he took over the #38 car, then as a virtually unknown driver. With Kahne, Great Clips saw Victory Lane for the first time in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2003. Kahne moved up to Cup in 2004, but continued to drive for Great Clips in the Busch Series. After the 2005 season, Kahne stepped away from the Great Clips car and pulled back his efforts in the Nationwide Series. It would be five years before close ties between Kahne and Great Clips came back to the forefront when he returned to the familiar seat of the #38 car, sharing the ride with Jason Leffler for the 2010 season. Great Clips also came onboard as a main sponsor for the #91 car of Kasey Kahne Racing, driven first by Cody Darrah and then by Paul McMahan for the 2010 World of Outlaws season. They were also an associate sponsor on cars driven by Joey Saldana and Brad Sweet. Great Clips remained on board the #91 car driven by Darrah for the 2011 season as well. Their sponsorship remains with Kasey Kahne Racing this season but makes the jump from the #91 car to the #9 car driven by Joey Saldana.
|Brad Sweet and Great Clips Postcard
with Camping World Truck series
Brad Sweet joined Kasey Kahne Racing in 2007, driving a car in the USAC series. When Kahne shuttered his USAC operations in 2009, Sweet remained with the team, competing in the World of Outlaws. With Kahne behind him, Sweet began to make the move from open-wheeled Sprints to NASCAR. In 2009, he ran several events in ARCA and the Camping World Truck Series. When Sweet made his first truck start at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2009 in the Lucas Oil 150, Great Clips was on his truck. They sponsored his truck the following two seasons as well while he ran a limited schedule. This season, Sweet will campaign for rookie of the year honors in the Nationwide series, splitting seat time in the storied #38 Great Clips car with Kahne. Great Clips’ involvement with the sport has been a winning partnership and with the tandem of Kahne and Sweet it will continue.