Anyone who knows me knows I have always been a bit of a worrier. I have been this way since I was a child. So you can imagine that when I found out that Office Depot would not be renewing it’s primary co-sponsor status on Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas Racing #14 Chevy- panic and dread immediately set in. That means in 2013 the 3 car stable at Stewart-Haas racing currently has TWO of its THREE cars unfunding for the season. Ryan Newman, who was already underfunded, lost ARMY as a sponsor for 2013 and now Tony Stewart has lost Office Depot. And I honestly don’t know if GoDaddy is Danica’s full-time sponsor next season, if they have other primary co-sponsors already lined up for her, or if Stewart-Hass Racing has 3 partially funded cars. Damn this economy. Hello worry, thy name is sponsorship.
Tony Stewart before the race at New Hampshire last weekend. (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure for BadGroove)
I immediately began listing any and all companies that I thought would be good sponsors. Heck even Misty joined in with me and we batted around possible sponsors for Tony and it soon became a game. I would receive texts and emails of just names of companies. I became fairly ruthless in my imaginary quest for sponorship- by “stealing” sponsors from other teams. I believe at one point I even joked that if I were independently wealthy I would sponsor a race or two (or more- depending just how weathly my independence was). It was admittedly silly but fueled by the very REAL fear that the sponsorship hole will not be filled by Daytona.
All silliness aside- losing a sponsor is NOT GOOD (obviously). It is becoming increasingly rare to find a cup car with a single primary sponsorship. Even drivers associated with the sport for years like four time Cup champion Jeff Gordon has had to find additional sponsors in recent years (The AARP’s Drive To End Hunger, Pepsi, National Guard) to fill sponsorship gaps. The number 20- is now sponsored by Home Depot and Dollar General (and Game Stop). Even NASCAR’s perpetual favorite driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr has not only multiple primary sponsors but Diet Mountain Dew has reduced the number of races that they will sponsor next year.
Of course it’s all related to the retched state of the economy. Yet it would be the perfect time for new companies to look into sponsoring NASCAR teams. Hotel chains, food companies, stores. What better way to reach 100,000s of fans face-to-face (and many many more on TV) than by sponsoring a NASCAR cup car. Hint hint.
Meanwhile- I personally will mourn the loss of Office Depot. I LOVE office supplies- I have a serious love of writing implements and post-it notes, an all paper products in general. Office Depot was a sponsor I could relate to personally. I am definitely sad to see them leave the #14 car sponsorship. Office Depot as a sponsor was good for the fans- often hosting autograph sessions and show car events. I can definitely say they were good to us here at BadGroove. They made sure we got to interview Tony Stewart multiple times ( Interview 1, Interview 2, Interview 3, Interview 4). Which really helped bring BadGroove to the next level (so I think anyway). I can only hope that whomever does sponsor Tony’s car in their place- is as good to fans (AND BLOGGERS) as Office Depot was.
Tony Stewart autographs a tire before the race at New Hampshire last weekend. (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure for BadGroove)
It is being RUMORED that Bass Pro Shops may be moving over to the #14 car to take over the spots left open by Office Depot’s departure. If that is the case all I can think of is YEY! I actually LOVE Bass Pro Shops. I don’t live in an area with one but I go to the one in Vegas nearly every time I am in town (I have a very outdoorsy brother and father to shop for birthdays, Christmas, and Father’s day for. Not to mention three nephews). It wouldn’t surprise me since Bass Pro already has a relationship with Tony Stewart- sponsoring several of his dirt endeavors. If the Bass Pro sponsorship turns out to be true- I can only hope that they announce it soon- so that I can stop worrying about the state of sponsorship for Tony’s car (Phoenix would be a GREAT place to announce it – since I will be at the race and all). I mean Tony Stewart is a THREE TIME cup champion and the CURRENT cup champion for goodness sakes. I do hope that whomever sponsor’s Tony is as fan (& BLOGGER) friendly as Office Depot was.