Lowe’s leaving NASCAR, dropping sponsorship of Jimmie Johnson at end of season

Add Lowe’s to the list of NASCAR sponsors who are leaving the sport.

Lowe’s, who has long been a sponsor of seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, announced on Wednesday that it would end it’s sponsorship of the No. 48 car at the end of the 2018 season.

One of the last full-season sponsors, Lowe’s had been sponsoring the Hendrick Motorsports team since 2001. Back then it was not uncommon for sponsors to pay upwards of $20 million for a full season of decals on a car. Nearly two decades later an exodus of sponsors has left teams trying to patch together deals in order to have full season funding.

Home Depot left NASCAR after the 2014 season, Target left prior to this season and companies such as UPS, Subway and Dollar General are other examples of big name stores who simply could not continue to foot the bill for a racecar.

“Working with Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie, Chad (Knaus) and the entire No. 48 team has been an incredible journey,” said Michael P. McDermott, Lowe’s chief customer officer. “Rick Hendrick and his organization have been exceptional partners, and we could not have asked for more from Jimmie – a consummate champion and an incredible representative for our brand and his sport.

The No. 11 driven by Denny Hamlin has sponsorship from FedEx for 34 of the 36 races this season while Kyle Busch’s No. 18 has sponsorship for 30 races from Mars Brands.

“We are so appreciative of everyone at Lowe’s. They have been amazing partners,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “With seven championships, this program has delivered far beyond what anyone could have imagined. It goes without saying that we will fully support Lowe’s and our program together in 2018 as we pursue another championship. The success of the relationship has been unbelievable.”