The racetrack formerly known as Charlotte Motor Speedway may revert to its old name unless the speedway and Lowe's Companies Inc arrive at an eleventh-hour decision to extend their eleven-year association.

According to a story in the forthcoming edition of SportsBusiness Journal, Lowe's has paid $35m over ten years to rebrand Charlotte Motor Speedway as Lowe's Motor Speedway, and extended the deal with Speedway Motorsports Inc for one year in 2009, but has decided not to return in 2010. But is the decision final?

SBJ writer Michael Smith quoted speedway president and general manager Marcus Smith as saying that 'both companies have benefitted as strategic partners for eleven years and we are finishing a one-year extension'.

"Currently, we're still working on and discussing the components of another extension to continue our relationship," he continued, "Those components have not been finalised, but the process is moving along and we are confident to have this completed in the near future."

Three-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who drives the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet sponsored by the home improvement retailer, says the speedway deal won't affect his race team.

"I just heard about it myself," he said Friday at Pocono Raceway, "I'm not in the loop on what Lowe's does and what they choose to do in marketing and advertising, so my focus is really on the car. It's unfortunate that they're not going back, but I guess it is what it is. We still have two years left on our contract we have with them. Everything has been going great."

By Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service


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