Another NASCAR sponsor has moved teams.
Best Buy, which sponsored AJ Allmendinger's No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2011, has moved to Roush Fenway Racing and will sponsor Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth. The electronics retailer will be a two-race primary sponsor for Edwards and a nine-race primary sponsor for Kenseth and an associate sponsor for both as well.
From the Best Buy release:
"Best Buy is thrilled to announce this new NASCAR sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing," said Drew Panayiotou, senior vice president of marketing for Best Buy. "Roush Fenway Racing is a great fit for Best Buy Racing. NASCAR continues to be a relevant way for us to connect with our customers. Our goal is to reach our target audiences in a meaningful way, while maximizing the value of our marketing and sponsorship investments."
This certainly throws a little wrench in the relationship with Roush and RPM, doesn't it? Roush supplies Roush-Yates engines and chassis to RPM, which fielded cars for Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose last year. Last week, RPM's Robbie Loomis said that the team would like to have Kurt Busch if possible — a move that was speculated to be related to the retention of the Best Buy sponsorship.
"Our plan has always been to run a two-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 and we are continuing down that path," Richard Petty said in a statement. "We have several partners that remain committed to the No. 43 team. We will move forward and explore all of our options in regard to the No. 43 program in the coming weeks."
Best Buy will significantly downsize the number of races it will be a primary sponsor, going from 24 in 2011 to 11 in 2012. UPS did something similar with Roush as well, moving from a full-time role with David Ragan to a part-time role with Edwards — further proof that mega sponsorships in the Sprint Cup Series are simply too expensive for some companies to support. (Because of UPS's move, Roush will likely downsize from four cars to three next season.)
Best Buy's announcement may also further cloud and minimize Aflac's possible return to Edwards' team. After having Aflac serving as his primary sponsor for the past three years, Edwards will be sponsored by Fastenal for 18 races, Kellogg's for four, Subway for three, Best Buy for two and UPS for one.
Best Buy is also the first sponsor announced for Kenseth after Crown Royal departed the team at the end of 2011.