(Photo by Dustin Long)

A look at this season’s primary sponsors for Sprint Cup teams

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With the NASCAR Sprint Cup season nearing, some teams have secured primary sponsorship for their cars for the year.

Things will look nearly the same as last year for some cars. For others, there will be a new look such as Nature’s Bakery sponsoring Danica Patrick for 28 races and NAPA joining Chase Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports for 24 races.

Here’s a look at the primary sponsors this season for teams that had at least one car in the top 25 a year ago (some teams provided the number of races for each primary sponsor):

JOE GIBBS RACING

Winning the championship with Kyle Busch, in one way, didn’t impact sponsorship. Dave Alpern, chief marketing officer for Joe Gibbs Racing, said primary sponsorship already was sold for all the races on that car before this season.

A championship has meaning in other ways, though.

“Many of our sponsors like to say, ‘Big brands do big things,’ ’’ he said. “The more championships that you win and the more races you win, you solidify yourself as a premier brand. I think Kyle winning the championship rises the tide for everyone on our team.’’

Alpern said that JGR is sold out with its primary sponsorships for all of its cars.

Busch’s car will have primary sponsorship from Mars Brands, which includes M&M’s, Skittles and Pedigree Dog Food. Busch also will have primary sponsorship from Interstate Batteries.

Carl Edwards’ car will have primary sponsorship from Arris, Comcast, Stanley Tools and Subway.

Denny Hamlin’s car will have primary sponsorship from FedEx and Sport Clips.

Matt Kenseth’s car will have primary sponsorship from Dollar General and DeWalt.

STEWART-HAAS RACING

Nature’s Bakery will begin its first season as a primary sponsor for Danica Patrick, while Busch Beer will serve as the primary sponsor in place of Budweiser for 12 races for Kevin Harvick.

Tony Stewart has all his primary sponsors back for his final season in the Cup but looking to fill in some gaps left from Bass Pro Shops taking several of its races to Martin Truex Jr.

Kurt Busch will have primary sponsorship from Monster Energy and Haas Automation this season.

Here’s a look at the sponsorship for each team:

Danica Patrick

28 races with Nature’s Bakery

4 races with Aspen Dental

4 races with Tax Act

2 races sold but TBA

Kevin Harvick

21 races with Jimmy John’s (including Daytona qualifying race)

12 races with Busch or Busch Light

2 races with ditech

2 races with Outback

2 races with Mobil 1

Tony Stewart

(Number of races per sponsor unavailable)

Mobil 1

Bass Pro Shops

Rush Truck Centers

Code 3 Associates

Kurt Busch

20 races with Haas Automation (includes Daytona qualifying race)

18 races with Monster Energy (includes Sprint Unlimited & Sprint All-Star race)

1 race with State Water Heaters

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

Primary sponsorship for the cars of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are sold. Primary sponsorship for Kasey Kahne and rookie Chase Elliott nearly are.

Here’s a look at how many races each driver will have with each primary sponsor:

Kasey Kahne

12 races with Farmers Insurance

10 races with Great Clips

3 races with LiftMaster

3 races with Quicken Loans

2 races with Panasonic

1 race with Mountain Dew

Chase Elliott

24 races with NAPA

5 races with 3M

2 races with Kelley Blue Book

2 races with Mountain Dew

Jimmie Johnson

38 races (36 points and 2 non-points races) with Lowe’s and affiliates

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

21 races with Nationwide

13 races with Axalta

3 races with Mountain Dew

1 race with TaxSlayer.com

FURNITURE ROW RACING

The focus is on finding additional sponsorship for Martin Truex Jr.’s team so the organization can expand to a two-car effort next season.

The team announced earlier this month that Bass Pro Shops would serve as a primary sponsor for eight points races and the qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway. Furniture Row, which is owned by team owner Barney Visser, will continue to serve as the primary sponsor on Truex’s car.

TEAM PENSKE

Primary sponsorship for the cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are both sold, the team reports. Car owner Roger Penske has established long relationships with some of his sponsors, so the lineup on each car does not look different from last year.

Brad Keselowski

24 races with Miller Lite (includes All-Star race)

8 races with Alliance Truck Parts

3 races with Wurth

2 races with AutoTrader

1 race with SKF (Sprint Unlimited)

Joey Logano

33.5 races with Shell Pennzoil

3 races with AAA

1.5 races with AutoTrader (co-primary with Shell Pennzoil for one race)

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING

The team has some spots available heading into the season but Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer for Richard Childress Racing, notes that they’re “in really good shape” with their Sprint Cup teams.

Paul Menard has backing from Menards and various companies affiliated with Menards. Schlosser says that primary sponsorship on Austin Dillon’s car is “essentially full’’ with Dow, Cheerios, American Ethanol and Bass Pro Shops back. While Quicken Loans moved from Ryan Newman’s team to Hendrick Motorsports and Kasey Kahne, Schlosser said RCR is looking at other companies to fill in those spots. Newman again will have backing from Caterpillar, WIX and Grainger.

CHIP GANASSI RACING WITH FELIX SABATES

Jamie McMurray’s team will continue to have McDonald’s and Cessna as primary sponsors. Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing, said that the team is looking to announce a new multirace partner before Daytona and that a couple of late-season races remain available on McMurray’s car.

Target is again back with Ganassi as a full-season sponsor — the company has been with Ganassi’s organization since 1990 — and will be the primary sponsor on Kyle Larson’s car. There will be some races where Target won’t be the primary sponsor, but it will be with a company affiliated with Target.

HSCOTT MOTORSPORTS

The team continues to look for sponsorship on its cars. Clint Bowyer will have 5-hour Energy as his primary sponsor in 24 races. The team also previously announced Peak and Blue DEF will be primary sponsors for two races and will have Visine for three races.

Bowyer’s teammate, Michael Annett, will have Pilot Flying J back as primary sponsor.

RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS

Primary sponsorship is filled on Aric Almirola’s car, while Brian Scott’s car has 12 races to fill, according to Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports.

Smithfield increased the number of races it is on Almirola’s car from 29 to 31 this season. Talks continue with some companies that have been with the organization in moving up to a primary sponsorship role on Scott’s car.

“There are a lot of conversations happening right now with corporations,’’ Moffitt said. “There’s an interest with being in NASCAR.’’

Aric Almirola

31 races with Smithfield

2 races with STP

2 races with U.S. Air Force

1 race with Fresh from Florida

Brian Scott

16 races with Shore Lodge/Albertsons

3 races with Twisted Tea

2 races with Goody’s

TBD races with GoBowling.com

ROUSH FENWAY RACING

Two teams will have a familiar look this season with sponsorship. AdvoCare is back as the primary sponsor for Trevor Bayne. Fastenal again will be the anchor primary sponsor for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with Fifth Third Bank and Zest on for select races.

The organization announced recently a multirace partnership with KFC for Greg Biffle’s car. His car also will be sponsored by Kleen Performance Parts and Cheez-It. The team is fielding interest from other potential sponsors.

JTG DAUGHERTY RACING

The team is close to selling all its primary sponsorship for the season for A.J. Allmendinger’s car.

JTG Daugherty will have The Kroger Company and its various brands serve as a co-primary sponsor in 23 races.

Longstanding partners Kingsford, Clorox, Bush’s Beans, Scott Products and Hungary Jack are all set to be on the car as a primary sponsor at times.

GERMAIN RACING

Geico is back as sponsor of the No. 13 car for Casey Mears. The company is with the team through 2018.

Daytona road course entry lists

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NASCAR’s national series will make their debuts on the Daytona road course this weekend. The Cup, Xfinity and Truck events will be held without any practice or qualifying.

NASCAR is prohibiting drivers from competing in more than one series this weekend on the Daytona road course in an effort to get extra track time. NASCAR states that is to make the event fair for everyone.

Sunday’s Cup race will be broadcast on NBC.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for the races at the Daytona road course 

Cup – Go Bowling 235 (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

Thirty-nine drivers are entered for the race at the Daytona road course.

JJ Yeley is in the No. 27 for Rick Ware Racing.

Joey Gase is in the No. 51 for Petty Ware Racing.

Gray Gaulding is in the No. 53 for Rick Ware Racing.

Brendan Gaughan is in the No. 62 for Beard Motorsports.

Timmy Hill is in the No. 66 for Motorsports Business Management.

Reed Sorenson is in the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports.

Click here for Cup entry list

 

Xfinity – UNOH 188 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-eight cars are entered.

Andy Lally is back in the No. 02 Our Motorsports car after finishing fifth last week at Road America.

AJ Allmendinger, who finished second last week at Road America, is in the No. 16 for Kaulig Racing.

IMSA driver Earl Bamber will make his Xfinity debut this weekend in the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing.

Brandon Gdovic will make his second start of the season, driving the No. 26 for Sam Hunt Racing.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

 

Truck – Sunoco 159 (Noon ET Sunday on FS1)

Thirty-nine trucks are entered in the race that will be held before the Cup event on Sunday on the Daytona road course.

Alex Tagliani will drive the No. 51 for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Click here for Truck entry list

Silly Season Scorecard: Christopher Bell moves back to JGR

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No surprise that Christopher Bell moves over to the No. 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing next season with Leavine Family Racing being sold and Erik Jones not remaining with JGR beyond this season. Joe Gibbs Racing made the announcement Monday.

While JGR lets the 24-year-old Jones, who has 133 Cup starts go, it brings in the 25-year-old Bell who has made 22 career Cup starts. Jones said before Sunday’s race he was “blindsided a little bit” by JGR’s move.

It’s part of the building momentum of Silly Season. In the last week, Team Penske signed Brad Keselowski to a reported one-year extension and Bubba Wallace said he has an offer for next year not only from Richard Petty Motorsports but also Chip Ganassi Racing.

Here’s how the Cup Silly Season scorecard looks as of Aug. 10.

ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2021

No. 00: Quin Houff enters the second year of his two-year deal with StarCom Racing.

No. 1: Kurt Busch enters the second year of a multi-year contract that Chip Ganassi Racing announced last season.

No. 2: Brad Keselowski and Team Penske announced a contract extension Aug. 3.

No. 4: Kevin Harvick signed a contract extension in February that will keep him at Stewart-Haas Racing through the 2023 season.

No. 8: Tyler Reddick said in a press conference Aug. 7 that he will be back with Richard Childress Racing next season.

No. 9: Chase Elliott is under contract with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2022 season.

No. 11: Denny Hamlin is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 12: Ryan Blaney and Team Penske announced a multi-year extension earlier this season.

No. 18: Kyle Busch is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 19: Martin Truex Jr. is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 20: Christopher Bell moves from Leavine Family Racing to take over this ride in 2021.

No. 22: Joey Logano is tied to Team Penske “through the 2022 season and beyond.”

No. 24: William Byron is under contact with Hendrick Motorsports through at least 2021.

No. 47: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. enters the second year of a multi-year deal with JTG Daugherty Racing.

No. 88: Alex Bowman will race for Hendrick Motorsports under a one-year contract extension announced earlier this year.

 

Available/possibly available rides

No. 10: Aric Almirola is in a contract year at Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 13: Ty Dillon is in a contract year at Germain Racing.

No. 14: Clint Bowyer is in a contract year to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 21: Matt DiBenedetto is in a contract year at Wood Brothers Racing. He said after the Aug. 9 Michigan race: “I haven’t really talked about that stuff for next year yet, but we’ve just been so focused and head down on digging and trying to make the playoffs and run well. We haven’t even really talked about it, so, hopefully, I stay here for a very long time to come and that’s what they had expressed to me when I came over here.”

No. 32: Corey LaJoie is in a contract year at Go Fas Racing.

No. 42: Matt Kenseth told NBC Sports on Aug. 8 in regards to talks with Chip Ganassi Racing for next year: “We really haven’t had any very meaningful discussions really about any of that to be honest with you.

No. 43: Bubba Wallace said Aug. 9 he has an offer from Richard Petty Motorsports and an offer from Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 42 car next season.

No. 48: With Jimmie Johnson retiring from full-time competition, Hendrick Motorsports has this seat to fill.

No. 95: Leavine Family Racing announced it was selling its assets earlier this week. The buyer has not been announced. Christopher Bell will move to the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team for 2021.

Christopher Bell to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021

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Christopher Bell will drive for the No. 20 next season for Joe Gibbs Racing, the team announced Monday, a decision that was expected with Erik Jones’ contract expiring after this season and it not being renewed. 

“I’m so appreciative of the opportunity I have this year with LFR and I want to finish this season strong for Bob (Leavine) and everyone there,” Bell said in a statement from the team. “At the same time, I’m extremely excited to return to Joe Gibbs Racing starting in 2021. It’s an organization I’m very comfortable with and have had a lot of success with.”

Said car owner Joe Gibbs: “We are excited to bring Christopher into our Cup Series program starting in 2021. He obviously had tremendous success in the Xfinity Series with us and we look forward to his return to JGR.”

Bell drove for JGR in in the Xfinity Series in 2018 and 2019, winning 15 races, before moving to the Cup Series and Leavine Family Racing this season. Leavine Family Racing announced last week that it has been sold.

Entering Sunday’s race at the Daytona International Speedway road course (3 p.m. ET on NBC), Bell is 19th in points. His best finish this season is fourth at the first Pocono race in late June.

Xfinity playoff grid after Road America

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Brandon Brown extended his hold on the final spot in the Xfinity playoff grid last weekend at Road America after struggles early in the race.

Brown needed to be pushed back to pit road before the field took the green because of a mechanical issue. He fell a lap down as his crew diagnosed the issue, got his lap back, scored four stage points in the second stage and finished 12th, one spot off his best career finish on a road course.

MORE: Brandon Brown wants to reward father with a special celebration

MORE: Austin Cindric wins at Road America 

Brown’s effort and Jeremy Clements misfortune in being collected in a crash to finish 29th led to Brown extending his lead on Clements for the final spot in the Xfinity playoff grid to 53 points. Myatt Snider is 73 points behind Brown. Eight races remain until the Xfinity playoffs begin Sept. 26 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Here is a look at the playoff grid. Drivers shaded in green are locked in the playoffs. Those shaded in yellow are in a playoff spot based on their point total. Drivers shaded in red are outside a spot in the Xfinity playoff grid.