The popular conjecture regarding Lowe’s big sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports #48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson was that the company would be bowing out after this year. Most figured with NASCAR’s struggles that Lowe’s was looking at it like the ‘70s ballad ends in Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road, ‘It’s a town full of losers; I’m pulling out of here to win.’ Well, the only people pulling out to win are Rick Hendrick and Johnson because Lowe’s has re-upped their large commitment to the #48 team through the 2015 season.
The giant home improvement chain has been the primary sponsor on Johnson’s car for 12 years – which is how long Johnson has been driving full-time in Sprint Cup. Along with crew chief Chad Knaus, Johnson has won 61 races and five championships over that span. Johnson won the NASCAR opener this year, winning his second Daytona 500.
“It has been a great ride”
Said Lowe’s head of marketing Tom Lamb:
“It has been a great ride with Jimmie since he started in the Cup Series 12 years ago. We are proud to sponsor one of the most elite teams and drivers in racing and have a five-time champion carry the Lowe’s brand each week.”
(Source: ESPN) Maybe Mr. Lamb could have taken a few lines from Thunder Road that said, ‘Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night — You ain’t a beauty but, hey, you’re alright — Oh, and that’s alright with me.’
Hendrick receives top dollar for exposure on their cars so Lowe’s investment is substantial. As Springsteen says, ‘The door’s open but the ride ain’t free.’ The news was publicized to all 1,700 store managers during the company’s national sales meeting.
Rumors had also surfaced back and forth whether the team would indeed be sponsored next year, but Rick Hendrick stated over a week ago, “Lowe’s will be back. I don’t know where that came from, but they’ll be back. Wishful thinking, maybe, by some of the other folks, but they’ll be back.”
Hendrick Motorsports has had a tough time filling the space on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 but the organization has remained patient while waiting to fill the exposure with the right kind of companies (source: ABC News). No figures are ever released officially but most in the marketing business know it takes at least $20 million to operate a first class team.
As those in the motorsports business might say, ‘And my car’s out back if you’re ready to take that long walk.’ Lowe’s will be continuing that walk.
Additional sources: Born to Run
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