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Target withdrawing sponsorship from Chip Ganassi Racing after this season

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Retail giant Target will end its sponsorship of Chip Ganassi Racing in NASCAR after this season.

The Sport Business Journal first reported Target’s departure from the sport.

The announcement comes with 16 races left in the Cup season and with Kyle Larson and his No. 42 Chevrolet second in the points standings.

The move follows Target exit from sponsoring Ganassi in IndyCar after last season. The company is transitioning its support to soccer ventures.

Target provided the following statement on its decision.

“We are enormously proud of how Chip and the entire Ganassi Racing team have represented the Target brand throughout our partnership. Together, we’ve seen tremendous success in NASCAR over the past 16 seasons, both on and off the track.

As we looked to evolve our sports marketing program, soccer provided Target with a unique opportunity to reach our guests in new places, and at all levels of the sport. Through partnerships with Major League Soccer, Minnesota United FC, US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Target has been able to create meaningful connections with players, fans and families, no matter how they participate in the sport. We will continue to build on these and other soccer investments in 2018 and beyond.

Over the past season, Target has worked closely with Chip Ganassi Racing on this transition. We have incredible respect for Chip and the talented team he has assembled, and are confident they will continue to see great success for years to come.”

Ganassi’s partnership with Target began in 1989. Target has sponsored Ganassi cars in the NASCAR Cup Series since a once-race deal in 2001. Its first race was with Sterling Marlin on Aug. 25, 2001 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Target became a full-time primary sponsor beginning in 2002 with Jimmy Spencer.

The team issued the following statement from Ganassi:

“I have had an unbelievable relationship with Target for 28 years and I have to thank them for their long-time support. It has been so much more than a team-sponsor relationship. They have their finger prints on so much of what Chip Ganassi Racing has become. I have had numerous mentors and developed great friendships over the years at Target and fully expect many of those to continue but this news simply closes one chapter of our race team and also begins a new one. Kyle Larson is a once in a generation talent, he and the No. 42 Chevrolet will still be on the track for a long time, the only difference is that they will have different colors.”

Target eased into its departure this season by reducing the number of races it was the primary sponsor of Larson’s car. Credit One Bank took over races and has sponsored Larson in five races this year and Jamie McMurray in one.

NASCAR provided the following statistics on corporate sponsorship in the sport.

  • The number of Fortune 500 companies partnering with NASCAR has increased again in 2017, according to a recent analysis.
  • In 2017, more than one in four (28 percent) Fortune 500 companies continue to invest in NASCAR (139) – a seven percent increase year-over-year.
  • Nearly half of Fortune 100 companies invest in NASCAR – an increase of 11 percent year-over-year.
  • The number of Fortune 500 companies investing in NASCAR has either grown or sustained year-over-year since 2012.
  • The number of Fortune 500 companies investing in NASCAR has increased 29 percent since 2008.
  • Also, Fifth Third Bank is seeing a four-to-one return on their investment from their motorsports program, exceeding their original three-to-one ROI goal since the program was implemented in 2012.

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Report: Target reducing primary sponsorship of Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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Primary sponsor Target is reducing the number of races it will be on the No. 42 of Kyle Larson in 2017, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal.

The report says Target is rolling back its sponsorship of the Chip Ganassi Racing team by somewhere between five and 10 races. The arrangement, a mutual decision between team and sponsor, is “to allow other companies to work with” Larson, who will be competing in his fourth full-time season in the premier series.

Target’s current deal with CGR in NASCAR expires after 2017.

The move comes after Target withdrew its sponsorship of CGR in the Verizon IndyCar Series after a 27-year relationship in open-wheel racing.

“It’s something that we worked on together,” CGR President Steve Lauletta told the Sports Business Journal. “It allows Target to continue to market their brand in a big way with Kyle Larson, our team and NASCAR — but allows us a little more flexibility to react to opportunities that were coming the team’s way. Everybody should benefit from that.”

The No. 42 was also sponsored in 2016 by Energizer batteries, Huggies, Axe and other companies Target works with.

Larson qualified for the Chase for the first time in 2016 after earning his first premier series win in August at Michigan International Speedway.

Click here to read the full report from the Sport Business Journal.