In the press release, NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps said, "Craftsman has been a great, longstanding partner and intends to remain in the sport. The current series name will continue through the 2008 season with the same great commitment Craftsman has demonstrated throughout its 13-year history as the series' entitlement sponsor."
[Source: The Kansas City Star, NASCAR]
Phelps told the "Kansas City Star" a new sponsor is not yet lined up, but that NASCAR will know what it wants when it sees it.
"I hate to limit us, but there's a good fit with 'tough' obviously, and things that are more on the masculine side," Phelps told the newspaper. "But, again, if it makes sense to have a sponsor who is more crossover that still maintains the integrity of what we believe the series represents, then we will obviously look at that, too."
Winston Cup became Nextel Cup back in 2003 then, Busch was traded for Nationwide in October of this year, so another name change almost seem routine. But a little digging shows there just might be more to the Craftsman loss. In 2005, Sears signed a five-year truck-series sponsorship with NASCAR. In a press release in May of 2005 (available after the jump), Toure Claiborne, Sears director of specialty marketing, said, "The partnership between Craftsman and NASCAR is one of the most important sports sponsorships for our company. This successful pairing of Craftsman, the No. 1 brand in the nation for overall quality, and NASCAR, the leader in motorsports, continues to drive preference for Craftsman tools."
Gotta wonder what went wrong. Could it have anything to do with Sears recent bad earnings? Hmmm.
NASCAR's press release about the name change:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2007) – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing has begun marketing entitlement sponsorship of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series beginning with the 2009 season.
This follows a decision by Sears that its Craftsman brand will forgo its sponsorship rights following the 2008 season.
"Craftsman has been a great, longstanding partner and intends to remain in the sport," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer, in a joint announcement with Sears. "The current series name will continue through the 2008 season with the same great commitment Craftsman has demonstrated throughout its 13-year history as the series' entitlement sponsor."
"The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series represents some of the world's best racing; the season championship has been determined in the final race of the year in 12 of 13 seasons – including 2007," Phelps said. "The series continues to attract some of NASCAR's most avid fans because of its intense, side-by-side competition."
"Craftsman has been the sponsor of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since its inception in 1995 and since then we have developed strong relationships with millions of loyal NASCAR fans we value greatly," said Scott Howard, Manager of Marketing Partnerships for Sears. "While we will be relinquishing title sponsorship of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at the end of 2008 we continue to explore new opportunities within NASCAR."
The series just wrapped up a successful 13th season of 25 races at 22 tracks in 19 states from coast-to-coast. Ron Hornaday Jr. won his third series championship with a record $1,137,044 in winnings.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is carried live by SPEED with two events broadcast live by FOX.
Sears' 2005 press release about the five-year contract extension:
Sears Renews Title Sponsorship of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - One of The Hottest Motorsports Properties in America
Craftsman(R) Brand Increases Involvement in and Support of NASCAR
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today that Sears, Roebuck and Co., through its proprietary Craftsman tool brand, has renewed its title sponsorship of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is one of America's fastest growing major sports properties and now the No. 3 motorsports property on cable television.
"Sears' outstanding support during the past decade has helped the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series become one of the hottest motorsports properties in America, which continues to draw new fans and provide tremendous value for sponsors and media partners," said George Pyne, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. "Craftsman's commitment, coupled with additional marketing support and in-store exposure from the Sears-Kmart merger, will help take the series to new heights."
In 2004, 19 of 25 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events experienced increases in the average number of households tuned in. The 2005 season-opening Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at Daytona International Speedway earned a 2.1 rating on SPEED Channel, up +31% vs. 2004 - the highest rated program in SPEED Channel's broadcast history. The most recent event, the Quaker Steak and Lube 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 20, was the most-watched Series event outside of Daytona on SPEED Channel. Thus far this season, an average
of 680,000 households (+16%) and 954,000 viewers (+21%) have tuned in to each NASCAR Craftsman Truck series event.
Under the five-year agreement, Sears will increase its support of the series in national and local advertising, sales promotions, in-store point-of-sale materials and public relations. The Craftsman brand also renews its status as "Official Tools of NASCAR." Highlights of Craftsman's enhanced support include:
-- Additional advertising to promote the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
-- Local in-store sales promotions supporting series events
-- Support of NASCAR's diversity programs
-- More prominent store signage and presence on product packaging in stores.
"The partnership between Craftsman and NASCAR is one of the most important sports sponsorships for our company. This successful pairing of Craftsman, the No. 1 brand in the nation for overall quality, and NASCAR, the leader in motorsports, continues to drive preference for Craftsman tools," said Toure Claiborne, Sears director of specialty marketing. "Tough tools are vital to performance in a sport known for tough racing, and that makes Craftsman tools a perfect fit for NASCAR. Clearly, there is significant potential to increase our involvement in NASCAR, as a result of the recent merger between Sears and Kmart. In advance of Father's Day, we are now testing a Craftsman 'gift display' in more than 300 Kmart stores. The relationship with Kmart will present opportunities to reach new fans and create additional exposure for our sponsorship and the series."
Sears' Craftsman brand has been title sponsor of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since the racing series began in 1995. The sponsorship, which gives Craftsman a broad position and array of rights in NASCAR, is one of three NASCAR national series entitlements in the sport, along with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series. With 25 points events airing live exclusively on SPEED Channel, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has evolved from being primarily a short track, "super regional" series to a national series with races at 22 tracks in 18 states across the U.S.