Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports spoke with media on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. was asked about the rumors of a new sponsor for the team.
Earnhardt Jr. said it is too late in the season to expect a multi-year deal. “Anybody who has got any sense about how the corporate world works knows that it’s too late into the season, too late in the year to expect to put together a package for the rest of the season that is going to turn into a multi-year deal. It’s just all the dollars and cents are accounted for at this point in the year. That doesn’t mean we can’t put some things together and do some creative stuff with some people and some partners that we already have or whatever. I don’t think it should be a cause for concern.”
Earnhardt’s sponsorship issues started when Pepsi, through Diet Mountain Dew and Amp, sliced its sponsorship from 20 races to five in 2013. The National Guard did add races though, going from 16 to 20 races.
It is not that the No 88 does not have options, team owner Rick Hendrick just isn’t interested in sponsors looking to work their way in for a race or two or the kind of companies that would conflict with his corporate image. The No. 88 is one of the most lucrative cars in the garage.
In other words, Hendrick can be picky about who to put out there on the car.
Earnhardt Jr. said they are looking beyond this season to find out who is going to be the partner that the team can put a long term deal together that matches up with everything they want to do in the future.
“I think that we have had a lot of good conversations with a few potential partners about what we can do in 2014 and beyond.” Earnhardt Jr. said.
“We are in really good shape regardless with our partner National Guard and the races that Diet Mountain Dew has on the schedule. We are in pretty good shape there. It is important to try to fill out what we have this season and we will. I don’t have any doubt at all that we will get that done.”
Earnhardt Jr. still needs sponsorship for 12 races this season.