When you think about it, Richard Childress Racing lost a major sponsor last year in Jack Daniels, and now it's a second year in a row following the news that Shell-Pennzoil is not coming back to the team in 2011.
Losing major sponsors on back-to-back years would be a major blow to any race team. And I just hate it for Richard Childress. I worked for him for over four years and you won't meet a person who caters to his sponsors any better than he does. Even when his teams aren't performing the best on the racetrack - like when they struggled last year - as a sponsor you know you are getting your bang for the buck from your sponsorship dollars when you are with Childress. He really caters to his sponsors - that's not to say Roger Penske, whose team takes over the Shell sponsorship in 2011, certainly won't, but I know first hand how good Childress takes care of his sponsors.
The big story now deals with the driver of the Shell-sponsored car this year - Kevin Harvick. We've been talking about it for over a year now, "Is Kevin Harvick staying or leaving when his contract runs out at the end of 2010?" He has been very adamant in saying that he's going to base his decision off of performance. If he feels like he's at an organization that can win races and can contend for championships, why would he want to leave? Well, losing his major sponsor could be a contributing factor towards Harvick's decision-making process.
The dollars that it takes to perform in this business are huge, and it takes a long time to put it together - you don't muster a deal overnight. But now Richard Childress has to contend with trying to find a major sponsor to replace Shell-Pennzoil, and at the same time I'm sure whoever he's going to be talking to their first question is going to be "Is Kevin Harvick staying?" And right now I don't think Childress or Harvick can answer that.
Childress has a very tough scenario: You've got to have a driver to sell a sponsor, you've got to have a sponsor to sell a driver. He's got the worst of both worlds staring him in the face.