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2011 NASCAR Sponsor & Driver Changes

Posted by chadmusselman on January 2, 2011

Last year I wrote about how the economy was affecting sponsors.  Things are still tight, and sponsors aren’t giving out huge amounts of money like they were in the boom days of the 90s, but things do seem to be getting a little better for the teams.  If you’d like to learn more on the amount of money it takes to run a NASCAR team, I suggest clicking on the link above and reading that entry.  The dollar amounts are pretty amazing.

Today I’ll focus more on what drivers are moving to different teams and what sponsors are renewing contracts or moving into & out of NASCAR.  As with every NASCAR season, there’s quite a bit of change and 2011 is no exception.


Kasey Kahne
We know that in 2012 Kasey Kahne will be driving for Rick Hendrick, but until then he was looking for a ride in the 2011 season.  Mission accomplished.  Kasey landed with Red Bull Racing and will drive the No. 4 car.  He’ll be replacing Scott Speed and take over the former No. 82 car.

Brian Vickers
There won’t be any car changes for Brian, but he  is expected to be healthy and recovered from the blood clots in time for the 2011 season.  He’ll be given his old ride with Red Bull Racing and the No. 83 car.

Brad Keselowski
Brad is staying with Penske racing, but will now be in car No. 2.  Also new to the No. 2 car will be crew chief Paul Wolfe.  Paul was Brad’s Nationwide crew chief where they won the championship and had an amazing 26 top-five finishes.

Marcos Ambrose
Marcos has landed with the re-structured Richard Petty Motorsports for 2011.  Marcos will be driving car No. 9 for The King.  Stanley and DeWalt will serve as the primary sponsors for the No. 9 car.

Aric Almorila
Almorila will be focusing on the Nationwide Series in 2011 and not have a regular Cup ride…at least to start with.  You never know what will happen though.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale isn’t changing teams, but Rick Hendrick is looking to give Dale a contract extension.  Earnhardt’s current contract ends after the 2012 season.  Hendrick said he wants Earnhardt to race for him until one of them retire.  So much for the speculation that Earnhardt will bring his Nationwide team to the Cup Series and drive for his own team.

Paul Menard
Menard will drive for Richard Childress Racing in 2011, becoming the 4th car that RCR will field.  Paul signed a multi-year deal and will have Menards remain as his primary sponsor.  His car number will be 27.

Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch is staying with Penske racing, but will move to the No. 22 car and have AAA and Shell-Pennzoil as his primary sponsors.

J.J. Yeley
J.J. has signed with Whitney Motorsports for the 2011 season and will be driving car No. 46.  Cash America International has signed on to be his sponsor for four races. 

Dave Blaney
Blaney has agreed to drive the No. 36 Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 16 of the Cup races in 2011.  No report of who the sponsors will be.

Trevor Bayne
The 19 year old Bayne will race for Wood Brothers in 2011.  The team will attempt to run in 17 races this season.  Bayne made his debut in Texas with the team last season finishing 17th.  Motorcraft/Quick Lane is said to be the sponsors.

David Starr
Starr will attempt to qualify for six Cup races for Leavine Fenton racing in 2011.  The car will be a Ford, No. 95. 

Jamie McMurray
After a solid 2010 season McMurray now signed a multi-year deal with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.  I haven’t seen any disclosures on the number of years or dollar amount.

Michael McDowell
McDowell, who may be best known for his horrific wreck at Texas in 2008 (You Tube link), signed with HP Racing (No, not HP the computer manufacturer).  HP as in Randy Humphrey & Phil Parsons.  McDowell will drive the No. 66 Toyota for the team in a select number of races.

Steve Wallace
Wallace, son of Rusty Wallace, will drive the No. 77 Toyota for Rusty Wallace Racing.   Steve Wallace is guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500 since Rusty Wallace Racing is partly owned by Roger Penske and the points earned by Sam Hornish Jr. in the 2010 season make the team an automatic qualifyer.  Penske isn’t fielding a car for Hornish to start the season since they don’t have sponsorship lined up.

Bill Elliott
It seems that Awesome Bill can’t get away from racing.  He’s signed on with Phoenix Racing for an 18 race schedule in 2011. 

Terry Labonte
Like Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte can’t say no to an opportunity to race.  Labonte has signed on to race for Frank Stoddard and his new team FAS Lane Racing.  Terry will race the No. 32 Ford sponsored by U.S. Chrome Corporation for the Daytona 500 since he’s guaranteed a past champion’s provisional.  The team isn’t sure how many races Terry will run for them.

Mike Skinner
Skinner will be the primary driver for Frank Stoddard’s No. 32 Ford.  Labonte will run some races, but Skinner should run the most races in this car.


Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless was a sponsor for Brad Keselowski’s No. 12 car last season, but cannot be a NASCAR sponsor any longer due to the competition clause NASCAR has set up with Sprint.  This will take anywhere from $12 to $17 million dollars out of a team’s hands.  Verizon instead will spend the money in the IndyCar circuit.  Verizon Wireless purchased Alltel in 2008, who you may remember was a long-time sponsor of Ryan Newman’s No. 12 car.

Shell-Pennzoil is leaving Richard Childress Racing to go to Penske to be the primary sponsor on the No. 22 car as well as Penske’s IndyCars. 

Wal-Mart would have been a huge shot in the arm for NASCAR.  They were negotiating with Jeff Gordon during the 2010 season, but couldn’t reach an agreement and won’t be sponsoring Jeff in the 2011 season.  NASCAR is still hopeful that a deal can be cut to make Wal-Mart the exclusive mass retailer for the sport.

We all associate DuPont with Jeff Gordon as  they’ve been together since Gordon started in 1992, but DuPont’s contract was up after the 2010 season and it doesn’t look like they’ll be the primary sponsor for Gordon in 2011.  They may stay on as an associate sponsor though.  Right now it doesn’t look like Jeff as a primary sponsor.

Quaker State
Mark Martin will have Quaker State on his hood as well as under it for five races in the 2011 season.  The associate sponsor will take the primary role for five races in 2011 for Mark Martin.

AAA has signed a multi-year extension with Penske racing beginning in 2011.  They will be the primary sponsor in three races for the No. 22 car to be driven by Kurt Busch.

Best Buy
Best Buy has renewed their sponsorship with A.J. Allmendinger and the No. 43 RPM car for 2011.  They will be the primary sponsor for 24 Cup races and two non-point races (Duels at Daytona and All-Start race).  Best Buy will also be an associate sponsor for RPM’s No. 9 car driven by Marcos Ambrose.

Valvoline, U.S. Air Force, WIX Filters, Reynolds and Paralyzed Veterans of America
All of these organizations have signed deals to sponsor A.J. Allmendinger’s No. 43 car for the 12 races that Best Buy will not be the primary sponsor in 2011.

Stanley & DeWalt
Both comanies will be primary sponsors for the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 Ford Fusion driven by Marcos Ambrose in the 2011 season.  DeWalt’s deal was for two years, so they’ll be sponsoring the No. 9 car in 2012 as well.

Bud will sponsor Kevin Harvick’s No. 29 car for the 2011 season.

Sponsorship Revenue Up for 2011

With the deals that have been done so far, NASCAR is reporting a 10% increase in sponsorship revenue for the 2011 season.  This includes finalizing 8 of 12 renewals and bringing in two new sponsors.  Three companies will not renew their contract, and one is still in negotiation with NASCAR.  Each of these sponsorships is generally worth between $2 million and $10 million.
Toyota – Renewed for 2011
GM – Renewed for 2011
Dodge – Renewed for 2011
Unilever – Renewed for 2011 – Signed a multi-year deal to promote Hellman’s mayonnaise and others
DirecTV – Renewed for 2011 – Will keep providing in-car camera views to DirecTV customers
Mars – In negotiations for 2011
Bank of America – In negotiations for 2011.  Has agreed to sponsor the fall race in Charlotte for the 5th consecutive year.
UPS – In negotiations for 2011
Tylenol – Declined to renew for 2011
Tissot – Declined to renew for 2011 – Was official timekeeper of NASCAR.  Will sponsor Danica Patrick in the Nationwide Series.
Nicorette – Declined to renew for 2011
Aflac – Negotiating a renewal for 2011
Drive 4COPD – New in 2011
Growth Energy – New in 2011 – Will promote American ethanol

As you can see there’s a lot happening to ensure all of our favorite drivers have sponsors and enough money in the 2011 season to keep them at the top of their game and competitive.  We’ll check back later in the season to see how some of these changes are doing.


9 Responses to “2011 NASCAR Sponsor & Driver Changes”

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  3. Updated the post with information on J.J. Yeley’s new ride, and added info on Best Buy’s sponsorship for 2011.

  4. carrie said


  5. Added info on Dave Blaney, Trevor Bayne, and David Starr.

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