The problem was of course that dreaded E word: economics. Long time team sponsors National Guard, Diet Mountain Dew and Amp Energy were forced to cut back on expenses.
However, team owner Rick Hendrick didn’t appear to be that worried about the situation. At the time he said there was always the option of selling the individual races on a piecemeal basis. Piecemeal is a modern day concept used by many teams who sell sponsorship packages to companies on an individual race basis. One company may purchase only one race, another corporation may buy three races. If you get enough piecemeal customers, it’s possible to sell out an entire season.
Hendrick, last June, acknowledged that the piecemeal interest in Earnhardt’s #88 team was highly significant and it would have been very easy to use the concept in order to sell the open 13 races. However, Hendrick was looking for a program on a much larger scale and said: “we’ve been looking for the future. We don’t want to get into sponsor relationships where you see somebody one time and you don’t see them anymore after that. I am very confident that in the next couple of weeks we should not only have this year covered but we should have a lot done for next year too.”
During the NASCAR weekend at Michigan, Hendrick said they are within a matter of weeks of announcing a new, long term, sponsor for the #88 team. Hendrick absolutely declined to mention the company name but did say “Dale Earnhardt Jr’s new sponsor will be a company that is new to the sport of NASCAR racing.”
The first of Earnhardt’s 13 unsponsored races is the July 6th event at Daytona. Hendrick said it’s not likely that an official announcement regarding the new sponsor will be ready by that point in time and the National Guard will likely be on the car for that race.
The good news is: the Junior Nation can rest easy, Mr H has taken care of business.
While no official plans have been announced for Elliott’s future, there are so strong indicators that says the young driver will indeed be in the Nationwide Series next season.
One of those indicators is the presence of Aaron’s Stores who has been sponsoring Elliott in many of his racing endeavors this year. There are reports that says Aaron’s executives really likes this driver and wants to be a part of his future potential.
Certainly a strong 2014 option for Chase Elliott is the Dale Earnhardt Jr owned J R Motorsports who currently campaigns two, sometimes three, cars in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. It’s very well known that Rick Hendrick is a partner with Earnhardt in this operation. It’s a perfect move for Hendrick’s young development driver.
Keep an eye on 17 year old Chase Elliott. He’s going to be a driver to watch in the coming years.