NASCAR »

Red Bull to quit NASCAR?

Strong rumours that Red Bull is to quit NASCAR at the end of the current season have sent shockwaves through the sport - and the wider world of motorsport sponsorship.
According to reports by The Associated Press, Red Bull is set to announce that it is quitting NASCAR Sprint Cup competition at the end of the 2011 season.

The story from The Associated Press says that "multiple people familiar with the decision" have confirmed that a team executive was dispatched to Michigan International Speedway this weekend to inform NASCAR officials and other industry representatives of the decision and that an official announcement will follow once the team and its employees have been formally told.

It's unclear why Red Bull have made the decision: one theory is that a fall in NASCAR viewer numbers has particularly hit the 18-34 demographic which is the Austrian energy drinks giant's core market.

Red Bull is involved in a wide number of motorsport sponsorships around the world, including F1 with its championship-winning team led by Sebastian Vettel, and the concern is that underlying pressures because of the world economic situation are forcing them to rein in their more costly sports operations.

The fear is that as a result, Red Bull may look at the most costly owner/sponsorship of all their sporting involvement - and could even decide that one or both of its two F1 teams, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, can no longer be justified. While the main F1 team has been immensely successful, it's not unknown for corporate sponsors to decide to quit while on top when faced with balance sheet pressures.

It's possible that the current NASCAR team management headed up by Jay Frye might seek buyers for the team and find some way to carry on NASCAR operations into 2012, but with all teams suffering from chilly financial times at present it's hard to see who has the sort of financial resources to step in if the likes of Red Bull are calling it a day.

The sources quoted by AP had no information on what would happen to the team's operation or staff, or what exactly the reason for the pull-out is, nor whether their pull-out from NASCAR will affect just the main team or all their other sponsorships in NASCAR series, such as Cole Whitt in the Truck Series, and which could impact the decision of whether or not Kimi Raikkonen makes any further forays into the sport.

In NASCAR, Red Bull is both the team owner and primary sponsor of the two-car operation which currently fields Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne. The team has not had much success in NASCAR since entering Cup competition in 2007, which started with a debut year that saw Vickers fail to qualify for a third of the races and ultimately end up placed 38th in the championship, and AJ Allmendinger miss 19 races and place 43rd.

Allmendinger was fired toward the end of 2008 in order to make room for Scott Speed after Red Bull ousted him from their Toro Rosso junior F1 team and offered him the NASCAR slot as compensation. That relationship eventually broke down altogether and Speed is now suing Red Bull as a consequence, after he was in turn ejected from the team to make way for the return of Brian Vickers from medical leave. Vickers won a race in 2009 and made the all-important Chase that year, and both of its current drivers have five top-ten finishes apiece so far this season.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kasey Kahne celebrates winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway [Picture credit: Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne examines the faces of fans who submit their pictures to be displayed on his No. 4 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Red Bull Racing Toyota this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. [Picture Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, races Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Sponge Bob Square Pants Ford, wreck during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Kahne is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Pole winner Jeff Gordon, driver of the #5 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 1, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with champagne and crew chief Tony Gibson in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, April 24, 2015 for Saturday evening`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Allmendinger is 25th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) and David Ragan (Joe Gibbs Racing) spin out during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Taz - Unregistered

June 20, 2011 6:58 PM

Would make sense to offload Torro Roso, it's an expensive luxury, hardly get much sponsorship screen time and have gone backward (understandably) since they had to make their own chassis. Sure someone will buy them if the price is right.

Nanbawan - Unregistered

June 22, 2011 9:52 PM

"Renault has done it in the past and may be regretting their continued interest in F1 right now considering the lack of front row success since Alonso left. " Heh ? They're still riding on success with RBR much like they did with Williams and Benetton. You're obviously dealing with the Lotus renault GP team, but it's not even theirs anymore, so it's just free publicity as long as it keeps the name which is until the end of next year. They might quit earlier due to the current engine decision by the FIA and maybe fully rebrand the engine they supply to RBR to Infiniti.



© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.