MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Jimmie Johnson has been unique, both in his accomplishments and his relationships with sponsors over the course of his NASCAR career. Johnson has carried a single brand — Lowe’s — as his lone full-season backer for 18 years.
A new chapter begins in 2019, but with another primary sponsor signing up for a full-season ride in the Monster Energy Series.
Hendrick Motorsports and Ally Bank made the joint announcement Sunday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway, revealing a two-year agreement that will put the financial service company on Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet for all 38 races (including exhibitions) of each season in the Monster Energy Series.
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“To enter this new chapter in my racing career and have one sponsor once again, it says a lot about Hendrick Motorsports and the value of this 48 car, then also our sport. As today unfolds with the media buys they’ve done and the way they’re going to advertise in our sport, as you see them engage next year and really using NASCAR as a marketing tool for their company, you’ll all be very, very impressed with their vision and the importance they see in NASCAR racing and the main reason why they’re here and involved.”
Ally was named GMAC until 2010 and has maintained a relationship with Rick Hendrick that has spanned his motorsports and auto sales ventures. The company’s investment with a multi-year package provides an extra layer of security for the team and its seven-time champion driver.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) October 28, 2018
“I wasn’t worried about it because I had pieces, but what’s really so special about this deal is Jimmie’s had his car by one sponsor all these years, and now he’s going to have one sponsor,” Hendrick said. “It was kind of like it was from heaven. Just everything lined up.”
As for the full-season buy-in, Hendrick was overjoyed. “You don’t get me speechless sometimes, but that kind of got me speechless.”
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Ally CEO Jeffrey Brown attended Sunday’s First Data 500, watching Johnson’s No. 48 tackle Martinsville with his company’s logo as an associate backer. For Brown, the decision to align itself more closely with Johnson through a full-time sponsorship package was a crucial component.
“I think it’s simple. I talked about our philosophy and our mantra is really, ‘Do it right,’ ” Brown said. “And if we’re going to do something, we’re going to do it right. We’re going to control, so ultimate control for the full season was very important.”
With four races left in the season, talks are already underway for the partnership’s goals for 2019 and beyond. That includes a national advertising push, plus the exposure from Johnson’s social media outreach and his personal interests.
“I feel that this is really, really a good fit and they really want to support me as an individual and the things that I’m into and why I love racing,” Johnson said. “So I think out of the gate from a primary standpoint, this is a home run and it can only get better from here if I can loop in either endorsement or associate sponsors from here.”
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