CONCORD, N.C. (July 13, 2007) - Hendrick Motorsports today announced that long-term contractual commitments to existing sponsors will preclude Budweiser from continuing as primary sponsor of the car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he joins the organization next season.
"We have agreements in place with sponsors for the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, which prevent us from having a relationship with Budweiser," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "Honoring our commitments is important to us. The trade-off is missing an opportunity to bring Budweiser, a marquee brand synonymous with NASCAR and its fans, into the fold."
On June 13, Earnhardt Jr. signed on to race for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2008, but primary sponsorship of his team remains undecided. No timetable has been established for an announcement.
"Budweiser has sponsored Dale Jr. for nearly a decade, and we wish him the very best," said Tony Ponturo, vice president of global media and sports marketing for Anheuser-Busch Inc. "Budweiser will remain an active sponsor of NASCAR, and we look forward to building upon the legacy of the iconic Budweiser red car in 2008 and beyond."
"To climb into that red Budweiser car each weekend has always been a privilege," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Although Budweiser and I will be unable to continue our partnership beyond this season, I remain committed to driving for Bud the rest of this year, and will continue to make it my beer of choice. I'm a race car driver. All I can do is drive as hard as I can for my fans and sponsorship partners, and give my best effort each weekend."
Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 10 championships in NASCAR's top three divisions and 159 victories in the sanctioning body's premier series, the NEXTEL Cup. Headquartered in Concord, N.C., the company employs 500 people and proudly services the sponsorships of more than 30 of the world's most respected brands. Please visit www.HendrickMotorsports.com for more information.
Budweiser first sponsored a team on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series circuit in 1983, and in 1998, Budweiser became the "Official Beer of NASCAR," cementing the brand's place among stock car racing's elite sponsors. Budweiser is also the sponsor of the Bud Pole Award in all NASCAR divisions, the title sponsor of the annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, the exclusive beer and malt beverage advertiser of the Daytona 500, and the "Official Beer Sponsor" of Daytona International Speedway, the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400. Throughout its history in NASCAR, the iconic Budweiser car has been driven by Terry Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Ken Schrader, Ricky Craven, Wally Dallenbach and Dale Earnhardt Jr.