US discount retail chain Dollar General and its distinctive black-and-yellow livery are to return to the IZOD IndyCar Series at Indianapolis next month, in a one-off deal to back the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team in the Indy 500.
“I am honored to welcome Dollar General back to our team for the Indianapolis 500,” said Sarah Fisher, owner of SFHR. "It will be exciting for our fans to once again see the black and yellow #67 attempt to bring home a victory at the Indy 500."
"Dollar General is excited to once again partner with Sarah and her team for the Indy 500 in the 96th running of this iconic race," responded Rick Dreiling, CEO of Dollar General. "We look forward to having Dollar General represented in 'the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'"
Dollar General was a longtime backer of Fisher's race team, but announced at the end of the 2011 season that they were ending their arrangement in order to focus their sponsorship activity on NASCAR.
Ironically, the news of Dollar General's departure came the same weekend that driver Ed Carpenter delivered a break-through victory for Fisher's small operation at the Kentucky Speedway, the last race that the series completed on an oval given the abandoning of the season finale in Las Vegas in tragic circumstances.
Despite Dollar General's departure, the team has been able to continue thanks to oil businessman Wink Hartman signing up as a partner in the team, after having previously been a low-key associate sponsor of the team since 2008.
However the team has not yet been able to attract a new major sponsor for the first four races of the 2012 season, and Josef Newgarden's car was conspicuously unadorned by primary sponsorship when it lined up on the front row at Long Beach alongside Dario Franchitti.
But the team's strong showing so far in 2012 with current Firestone Indy Lights champion Newgarden - who won last year's Freedom 100 support race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - has persuaded Dollar General that they can't pass up the opportunity to return to IndyCar by backing SFHF next month in the biggest US motor race of the year.
“Indianapolis is such a challenge,” said Newgarden. “You can go around that track 200 times and learn something new about your car or yourself as a driver on each lap.”
"This opportunity is a direct result of the fantastic relationships SFHR maintains with its partners," added Fisher. "The privilege we have to continue the relationship with a company that stood behind us during the tough times at the start of our team means a great deal to me."