Which are the five best sponsors in NASCAR?
Lowe's Home Improvement
Jimmie Johnson's primary sponsor is one of the most dedicated in the sport by far. Lowe's Home Improvement has been involved in NASCAR since the late 1990's where they sponsored Mike Skinner in his Richard Childress Racing days.
Lowe's started sponsoring Skinner in 1997 where he started out the season by winning the pole for the Daytona 500. They sponsored Skinner until 2001 where they moved onto Hendrick Motorsports to sponsor the new kid on the block in Johnson.
They even sponsored the Charlotte Motor Speedway from 1999 until 2009 before they decided not to re-new the ten year deal they originally signed.
The company could have decided to drop out of the sport completely, but they chose to re-sign with Johnson and Hendrick, officially becoming a prominent sponsor in the sport.
Budweiser has been in NASCAR for over 30 years. Being the sport's most chosen alcoholic beverage, Budweiser has expanded their branding in NASCAR by sponsoring speedweek's at Daytona including the shootout races now called the Budweiser Shootout.
Everyone has seen Pepsi's commercials with Jeff Gordon this year and they are pretty amusing. But, the sponsor has been involved in the sport since the late 1990's as they now sponsor two Sprint Cup Series cars with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his Diet Mountain Dew/AMP Energy logos plus Gordon's Pepsi sponsorship.
The "Blue Deuce" is known for its on track dominance. But, it wouldn't be the "Blue Deuce" if it weren't for Miller Lite sponsoring them.
Miller started sponsoring a NASCAR in 1990 where they sponsored Rusty Wallace and his No. 27 team for Raymond Beadle, the year after he won the championship. In 1991, Wallace made the move to Penske Racing, driving the No. 2 Miller Genuine draft car.
Wallace and Miller were together until 2005 when he retired in the same No. 2 car owned by Roger Penske.
Kurt Busch took over the ride in 2006 until 2010. Busch had seven wins in the No. 2 car which Miller Lite continued to sponsor even with the departure of Wallace.
Last season, Brad Keselowski took over the "Blue Deuce." But, he didn't perform well at first. Penske and Miller Lite both stuck by Keselowski and it paid off. He won three races last year before finishing fifth in the point standings.
The company returned to sponsor the team in 2012 as they have received a bunch of TV time with Keselowski now leading the points, on his way to bring Penske Racing their first championship in NASCAR competition.
Miller Lite has been vital for the development of Penske's team. They are one of the longest tenured sponsors in the sport. Sponsoring one team for 21 years is not easy as they have shown true dedication to Penske and NASCAR.
M&M's. Skittles. Pedigree. Combos. Snickers. Oh how good that sounds. Well, for Mars Incorporated it means more revenue.
Starting in 1990, Mars Inc. made a venture into NASCAR and it didn't start out with the bright M&M's colors either.
For the first three years of their NASCAR sponsorship, Mars ran the Snickers colors on the Stavola Brothers Racing No. 8 car for three seasons with Bobby Hillin Jr., Rick Wilson, as well as Dick Trickle.
When they split ways with the No. 8 team, they became an associate sponsor for Jeff Gordon in his rookie season in 1994.
In 1998, the company brought it's Skittles brand into NASCAR by sponsoring Derrike Cope and his MB2 Motorsports team. The next season, Ernie Irvan took over as the driver of the No. 36 Pontiac and won a pole award at Indianapolis, Mars Inc.'s first pole award.
The company stuck with MB2 Motorsports until 2003 where they signed on with Robert Yates Racing and Elliott Sadler. Sadler won two races in 2004, the first two wins for M&M's and Mars Inc.
Since that time, M&M's has become the official Chocolate of NASCAR, Pedigree has become the official Pet Food of NASCAR, and Combos has become the official Cheese Filled Snack of NASCAR.
In 2007 they sponsored two teams for the first time in the company's history. They sponsored David Gilliland with M&M's in the No. 38 car and Ricky Rudd with Snickers in the No. 88 car.
Now, the company has sponsored Kyle Busch since 2008 as the company continues to expand. They take every opportunity to enlighten fans on race weekend of their products by placing banners and a bunch more at stores near race tracks which is why Mars Inc. has become one of the most outstanding sponsors the sport has to offer.
NASCAR teams cost millions of dollars to fund, well at least the ones that prove they can win races.
This year, funding is limited as the economy is slowing progressing to be where it once was. Teams are struggling on and off the track just to run in the top 30. Teams such as Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing have struggled mightily for the majority of the 2012 NASCAR season.
Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing fields cars for Juan Pablo Montoya as well as Jamie McMurray. Both drivers have won races in NASCAR’s most premier series, but in 2012, they have just five top ten finishes combined. They have multi-million dollar sponsors which fund the entire season, one would think this would propel them to run up front on a weekly basis.
Sponsors don’t pay for everything in racing, especially when the cars are as similar as they are in NASCAR. Two tenths of a second can be the difference between running in the top five and running outside of the top 25. It’s just how things are in the most elite auto racing series there is.
Over the years, there have been several sponsors that have went the extra mile to provide teams the amount of funding they need in order to succeed. With the roughly $25 million or more spent on a full-season sponsorship, teams commit to doing the best they can. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
Even when teams struggle, there are some sponsors who have stuck within the sports for years as they know what NASCAR can do for their brands.