CONCORD, N.C. — Target will not renew their sponsorship of Kyle Larson and Chip Ganassi Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after this year.
The decision will bring to an end a 16-year partnership between CGR and the retail giant in NASCAR. The two sides first paired up on the NASCAR circuit in 2002.
Sports Business Daily first reported the news.
Target ended their sponsorship of Ganassi’s Verizon IndyCar Series program at the end of last season after more than a quarter-century of partnership with the team in American open wheel racing, and their decision to conclude their NASCAR sponsorship will complete their exit strategy from motorsports as a whole.
Moving forward, Target’s sports marketing strategy will focus on soccer.
“As we looked to evolve our sports marketing program, soccer provided Target with a unique opportunity to reach our guests in new places, and at all levels of the sport,” Target said in a statement. “Through partnerships with Major League Soccer, Minnesota United FC, US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Target has been able to create meaningful connections with players, fans and families, no matter how they participate in the sport.”
“We are enormously proud of how Chip and the entire Ganassi Racing team have represented the Target brand throughout our partnership,” the statement continued. “Together, we’ve seen tremendous success in NASCAR over the past 16 seasons, both on and off the track. … We have incredible respect for Chip and the talented team he has assembled, and are confident they will continue to see great success for years to come.”
Jimmy Spencer was the first driver to carry the Target colors full-time on a Ganassi entry in NASCAR, doing so during the 2002 season, one year after Chip Ganassi purchased the operation from Felix Sabates.
Larson first teamed up with Target and Ganassi at the Cup level in 2014, and has scored three Cup wins with the famed Bullseye on the hood of his Chevrolet.
In total, Friday’s announcement brings to an end a nearly-three decade association between Ganassi and Target across all forms of motorsports, including Indy cars, NASCAR and sports cars.
“I have had an unbelievable relationship with Target for 28 years and I have to thank them for their long-time support,” said team owner Chip Ganassi in a statement. “Kyle Larson is a once-in-a-generation talent, and he and the No. 42 Chevrolet will still be on the track for a long time. The only difference is that they will have different colors.”
“This has been so much more than a team-sponsor relationship. (Target) has their fingerprints on so much of what Chip Ganassi Racing has become. I have had numerous mentors and developed great friendships over the years at Target and fully expect many of those to continue, but this news simply closes one chapter of our race team and also begins a new one.”
This season, Larson has carried the No. 42 Target Chevrolet to two wins, three poles, nine top-fives and 12 top-10s in 20 Cup starts. He sits just 48 points adrift of championship leader Martin Truex Jr.
CreditOne Bank shifted a portion of their sponsor inventory over to Larson’s car this season, after sponsoring Jamie McMurray in five races last year and in light of Target trimming their sponsor support back at the start of the year, and could be in position to expand their role in the wake of Target’s departure.
The team told Sports Business Daily that they already have a multi-race sponsor, new to the team and the sport, that will be introduced in the coming weeks.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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