In just 24 hours, Hendrick Motorsports put to rest all the rumors about Jeff Gordon's sponsorship situation.
Wednesday, the team announced that the AARP Foundation’s Drive to End Hunger will be the primary sponsor of Gordon’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for 22 races in each of the next three seasons.
This morning, the team confirmed that Gordon’s longtime sponsor DuPont will be his primary for the remaining 14 races in each of those three seasons. That means Gordon’s car is fully sponsored through the end of the 2013 season, an enviable position in these still-challenging economic teams.
Team owner Rick Hendrick said Wednesday that all four of his team’s NASCAR Sprint Cup cars are fully sponsored for 2010, unlike this year, when he had to use his own HendrickCars.com to fill in on some races for Mark Martin.
“I think we’ll be ahead of where we were this year and last year,” Hendrick said of his total 2011 funding commitments.
As for Gordon, the DuPont renewal continues a relationship that began when he competed in his first Sprint Cup race in 1992.
“I can't remember what it was like to race without DuPont on board,” said Gordon, 39, who with 82 Sprint Cup victories is sixth on NASCAR's all-time victory list. “We've had such an incredible ride together, and I've learned so much about how DuPont applies science and innovation to make a positive difference in the world. It means a lot to me to keep it going for at least another three seasons. DuPont has supported me throughout my Cup career, and I feel like we have more wins and championships ahead.”
“We are proud to continue our relationship with Jeff, Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 24 car. This continues to be a unique opportunity to showcase DuPont innovations,” said Cynthia C. Green, chief marketing officer, DuPont. “We look forward to putting the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet on the racetrack for another three years and winning more championships with Jeff and Hendrick Motorsports.”
Besides Chevrolet (1984) and MAC Tools (1986), DuPont is Hendrick Motorsports' longest-tenured corporate partner. The 2011 Sprint Cup campaign will mark the company's 19th full season with a presence on the No. 24 Chevys.
“I firmly believe Hendrick Motorsports would not be where we are today without DuPont's commitment to our company and our sport,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “They took a leap of faith by sponsoring Jeff and the No. 24 team back in 1992, and the relationship has been unbelievable ever since. They are terrific people, and it's extremely gratifying to continue into our 19th full season together (in 2011).”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.