News & Media

Dollar General, JGR announce sponsorship plans

October 13, 2011, Joe Menzer,

CONCORD, N.C -- Company buys in for 12 Cup races on No. 20, full Nationwide season for Scott

All race teams should be so fortunate.

J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, said Thursday that he had a difficult decision to make recently. He had one potential sponsor, Dollar General, that wanted to invest considerable dollars in JGR; but he had another long-time sponsor, Home Depot, that would have to invest a little less to let Dollar General come on board in the fashion that Gibbs and others involved in the negotiations thought made the most sense.

"You're not having to cobble something together out of necessity. You're doing it for long term, tying to make a foundation. It makes sense."


In the end, Gibbs did the only thing he figured he could do. He went to Home Depot and made the unusual request. He talked to officials there about sponsoring fewer Sprint Cup races on the No. 20 Toyota driven by Joey Logano. That paved the way for Dollar General to buy into a total of 12 Cup races, beginning in 2012.

Dollar General announced its increased sponsorship agreement with JGR on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition to making its initial foray into Cup racing, the company also will sponsor a full Nationwide season with JGR driver Brian Scott, as well as 10 additional Nationwide races to be split between Logano and Kyle Busch. Dollar General also will continue to sponsor 10 races with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, with Busch driving the KBM entry on those occasions.

"From a teammate standpoint, this is a great addition for Joe Gibbs Racing. At the Cup level, at the Nationwide level -- and just as a team," Gibbs said. "So when we went to present it to [Home Depot], they were kind of like, 'OK, I get it.' Obviously they're not spending for the extra 12 races. But I think, for them, it kind of made sense and it fit.

"We've done it before with Interstate [Batteries]. They're partners with Mars [on Busch's No. 18 Toyota Cup entry]. Fed Ex [which sponors the No. 11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin] really kind of does their own thing. They want the whole thing. But this is nothing different from what we've done in the past, and from what other teams have done."

What is different is that Home Depot already had agreed to full sponsorship on the No. 20 car for next season and "for a while, without going into detail," according to Gibbs. When other teams have in the past cobbled together sponsorship between two or more sponsors for a Cup season, it's been out of necessity because the entire season wasn't yet covered.

"I think it makes this an even better deal," Gibbs insisted. "You're not having to cobble something together out of necessity. You're doing it for long term, tying to make a foundation. It makes sense."

Gibbs denied that the move was precipitated by Home Depot's dissatisfaction in Logano as driver of the car. Currently mired in 23rd in the point standings, Logano has won only one race as he closes in on finishing up his third season as full-time driver of the No. 20 car that former JGR driver Tony Stewart rode to two championships.

"Without giving the details, that's not really the case," Gibbs said. "We got [Logano] when he was young and we walked him through all that. I think he's got a great future at Joe Gibbs Racing. Obviously on the performance side, we're not happy with that on the Cup side. But I think this is a great, encouraging thing for him -- to give him and that team a foundation to grow with."

Gibbs also denied that the move is paving the way for Home Depot to further lessen its involvement in the sport or get out altogether in the long haul.

"Again, they worked with us," Gibbs said. "They didn't have to say yes. I think it's something that makes sense for the big picture. I think they're just a good partner. What we didn't want to do was say, 'Hey, Dollar General. We think you're a great partner. But we're sorry, you have to go someplace else. We can't make it work.' With the trucks for Kyle and the Nationwide and Cup for us, I think it all makes sense.

"Dollar General is a great partner. You don't want to have to pass on that and give someone else that opportunity. We went to Home Depot and said, 'Here are all the issues we have, and here's why we think they would be a valuable partner.' And they were like, 'OK, we agree.' "

Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing, said the JGR deal announced Thursday was merely more evidence of a new sponsorship dynamic in NASCAR that has been taking shape for the last couple of years, and continues to evolve.

"That's the model that about all these companies [interested in sponsorship] are going to these days," Childress said. "They still think it's a great place to be, or they wouldn't come back. I think that's going to be the model: You're going to have to be able to sell it off to one, two or maybe three sponsors.

"It makes it a little tougher adjusting the races, because everybody will want Daytona or everybody wants Indianapolis. But if you're fortunate enough to have great companies that want to work with you in picking those race tracks, it works really good."

Gibbs said JGR will continue to field just three full-time Cup cars. He said no serious consideration was given to trying to take the 12-race sponsorship dangled by Dollar General and trying to pair that up with yet another sponsor to field a fourth Cup car.

"I think if you're going to do a fourth car, you'd better have a whole lot more than 12 [races] covered to make it work," Gibbs said. "Even if you had 25, and you had to go write a check for the rest, it's not going to work. So I think this is a good fit for them and for us.

"We still have room for a fourth car, and we've talked to other potential partners. But we've learned you've got to make sure everything is sealed up and done before you try and jump out there and knock that out."