US chain store business Dollar General has announced its motorsports sponsorship strategy for 2012, and confirmed that they are focussing their money on backing the Joe Gibbs Racing organisation.
The retailer has signed up to be the primary sponsor for 12 Cup races of the #20 driven by Joey Logano, which until now has been fully funded by Home Depot since 1999.
The company will also provide sponsorship for JGR driver Brian Scott for a full year of Nationwide Series racing, as well as proving the funds for a further ten Nationwide outings for another car that will be shared between Logano and Kyle Busch. Dollar General will also continue to fund ten Camping World Truck Series races for Kyle Busch Motorsports, with JGR driver Busch himself at the wheel for those outings.
"We chose to increase our presence in NASCAR because it is sport that reaches our customers," said the chairman and CEO of Dollar General, Rick Dreilling. "We look forward to working with JGR and KBM to help us build our brand through NASCAR."
The president of JGR, JD Gibbs, insisted that Home Depot's reduction of funding for the #20 in Cup races was at the team's request in order that JGR could grow the overall family of sponsors backing JGR, and not because Home Depot wanted to reduce its investment or because they were unhappy with the performance of the #20 this season or with Logano's development.
"You don't want to have to pass on that [deal] and let someone else get the opportunity... We're planning on a long-term relationship for a long time with Dollar General,” said Gibbs. "We're thrilled to be in a partnership like that."
He had been in the strange position of having to persuade home improvement retailer to reduce its backing - the inverse of the usual 'tricky conversation' that teams have lately been having trying to get big name suppliers to re-up or extend backing.
"When this opportunity came up and we had an opportunity to talk to [Dollar General], and the fact they would like to make an entry into Cup racing, we went to Home Depot with this idea," said Gibbs, who pointed out that the team had already had a "long-term deal going forward" in place with Home Depot for sponsorship for the full 38-race Cup season. "It wasn't Home Depot coming to us, it was us coming to Home Depot."
"We thought it made sense and that's what we're going to be doing," commented Home Depot spokesman Ron DeFeo, who agreed that the change had been JGR-led.