Ortho out as Greg Biffle’s primary sponsor after one season

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It’s one-and-done for the Ortho pest-control brand, which will leave after just one season as primary sponsor of Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford and not return for 2016, according to a report by Sports Business Daily.

The Ortho brand took over this season as primary sponsor for Biffle’s Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion after previous primary sponsor 3M, which had backed Biffle’s car for nearly a decade, moved to Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet.

Ortho was Biffle’s primary sponsor for half of this year’s 36 Sprint Cup races. It will not be on the car in Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“We evaluate our sponsorship portfolio on an annual basis and have decided not to renew our partnership agreement with Roush Fenway Racing,” Chris Strunk, Director of Marketing, Promotions and Communications for Ortho’s parent company, Scotts Miracle-Gro, said in a statement. “Roush Fenway and Greg Biffle have been terrific partners, and we wish them the best. We are extremely appreciative of their participation and support of the Ortho brand.”

The Sports Business Daily report indicated that Ortho could eventually return, but has elected to “sit out” the 2016 season as a NASCAR team sponsor.

Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark released the following statement: “We have enjoyed a long-standing and greatly productive working relationship with Ortho and the Scotts’ brand. Over the course of the last decade they – at different times – have been able to successfully activate various marketing platforms through our partnership.

“They had great success activating around Greg and the No. 16 team this and I think all of us enjoyed the ‘What’s Buggin Biffle’ promotion. However, their marketing strategy for ’16 will take them in a different direction. We would of course welcome working with them again in the future and look forward to that possibility.”

It’s not been a good year for Roush Fenway Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. Biffle, who turns 46 on Dec. 23, has endured the worst season of his 14-year Cup career with no wins and just three top-five and four top-10 finishes. He enters Sunday’s race in 19th position, having missed the Chase for just the second time in the last eight seasons.

Biffle’s two teammates have had it even worse: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is 25th, while Trevor Bayne, in his first full season in Sprint Cup, is 29th.

Ortho joins several other sponsors that are leaving the sport upon the conclusion of this season including GoDaddy and Aaron’s.

However, several new sponsors will enter the sport in 2016, according to Sports Business Daily, including Microsoft, Avaya and Nature’s Bakery.

Sponsors that have recently extended current agreements include Mars and Axalta.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Circuit of the Americas


Saturday will be a busy day at Circuit of the Americas, as all three national series are on the track.

Cup will qualify ahead of the Craftsman Truck and Xfinity Series races.

The forecast Saturday calls for sunny conditions and no chance of rain all day. The high is expected to be 69 degrees during Cup qualifying, 76 degrees at the start of the Truck race and 81 degrees for the start of the Xfinity race.

Zane Smith looks to win his second consecutive Truck race at the road course in Austin, Texas. AJ Allmendinger seeks his second consecutive Xfinity win at COTA.

Saturday, March 25

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 10:30 a.m.  — Truck Series
  • 2 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (FS1)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (42 laps, 143 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 5 p.m. — Xfinity race (46 laps, 156 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

COTA Xfinity starting lineup: AJ Allmendinger takes pole


AJ Allmendinger, who won this race a year ago, will start on the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas.

Allmendinger earned the pole with a lap of 92.173 mph Friday on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Xfinity starting lineup

He will be joined on the front row Sammy Smith (91.827 mph).
Ty Gibbs (91.665) will start third. Sheldon Creed (91.652) qualified fourth. Parker Kligerman (91.195) will start fifth.

Cup driver William Byron will start ninth. Byron’s time was disallowed for cutting the esses. Cole Custer, who will start 10th, didn’t make a lap in the final round of qualifying.

Cup driver Aric Almirola (91.269) qualified 13th. Truck Series racer Carson Hocevar (90.669) will start 17th. Alex Labbe (90.476) will start 23rd. He’s filling in for Josh Williams, who is serving a one-race suspension for parking his car at the start/finish line of last weekend’s race at Atlanta.

COTA Truck starting lineup: Ross Chastain wins pole


Ross Chastain will start on the pole for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Chastain earned the top starting spot in Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 91.877 mph. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (91.490 mph).

More: COTA Truck starting lineup

Ty Majeski qualified third with a lap of 91.225 mph. Rookie Nick Sanchez (90.993) will start fourth, and Christian Eckes (90.937) will complete the top five.

Alex Bowman failed to make the race. Bowman had a flat right front on his qualifying lap.

Tyler Reddick leads Cup practice at COTA


Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Cup practice at Circuit of the Americas.

Reddick, who won two road course races last season, topped the field in his 23XI Racing Toyota with a lap of 92.989 mph. Kyle Larson was next, posting a lap of 92.618 mph around the 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Cup practice results

Ross Chastain, who won this race a year ago, was third on the speed chart in practice with a lap of 92.520 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (92.498 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.461 mph).

Jordan Taylor, subbing for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, was 10th on the speed chart in practice after a lap of 92.404 mph.

Former world champion Jenson Button, driving for Rick Ware Racing, was 28th in practice with a lap of 91.759 mph. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving the Project 91 car for Trackhouse Racing, was 32nd in practice after a lap of 91.413 mph.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving in his first race for Legacy Motor Club since the Daytona 500, was 36th in practice after a lap of 91.072 mph. IndyCar driver Conor Daly was last among the 39 cars in practice with a lap of 90.095 mph.

Cup qualifying is Saturday. The series races Sunday.