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Roush Fenway loses key sponsor

Roush Fenway recently managed to sign a three-year renewal of 3M's sponsorship of the #16 car of Greg Biffle in April. 3M have been involved with Roush Fenway Racing in NASCAR since 2005, originally with their 'Post-It' brand, and hit victory lane with the team for the first time just five weeks into their association. However, the most recent renewal was said to be for fewer races per season from 2012, reducing 3M's overall investment into Roush Fenway - although exact terms of the contract are inevitably commercially confidential.

The team also has to worry about renewing the backing of another major backer, the international shipping company UPS that is the primary sponsor of the team's #6 driven by David Ragan, which is also set to expire at the end of the current season.

And the team also have to negotiate with medical insurer Aflac who are the main sponsors of Carl Edwards' #99 car. Despite being the championship leader, the sponsorship backing for Edwards has been thought to be particularly soft and at risk in the current depressed economy, and has led to rumours that Edwards might be drawn to sign for Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the #20 car, which comes with one of NASCAR's most secure sponsorship backing arrangements with The Home Depot.

The Home Depot is particularly keen to have a car that can compete with that of their arch business rivals Lowe's, which sponsors the #48 car of Jimmie Johnson that has won the Cup championship for the last five consecutive years: bringing in the championship leader (and current favourite for the 2011 championship) Carl Edwards to race the #20 at JGR under their brand would be a particularly effective way for The Home Depot to achieve this.

With the clock ticking to re-sign UPS, find the money to retain Carl Edwards and now to replace Crown Royal, the business and financial pressure is definitely on Roush Fenway.

As well as the sponsorship of the #17 car, Diageo also has a sponsorship deal with NASCAR itself and the company confirmed that this too is to end after the current season. However they were keen to stress the continuation of the popular 'Your Name Here' program.

Crown Royal said that this had "provided NASCAR fans with an experience that is unrivalled in sports and in recent years has shed light on some of the remarkable military servicemen and servicewomen who proudly serve our country," adding: "We look forward to elevating this program as well as continuing our presence in the sport through an experience that our fans have grown to love."

However, it's not certain whether the 'Your Name Here' event will continue to be held at Richmond International Raceway or whether it will switch to a different venue or calendar slot.

This year's winner of the 'Your Name Here' program was United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Matthew Hansen and also his twin brother Daniel who had been killed in action two years previously. At the end of the evening, the 'Your Name Here' race this year therefore awarded the Crown Royal Presents the Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 trophy.




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(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, climbs into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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The #24 Axalta Chevrolet crew celebrates in pit lane after driver Jeff Godron`s victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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