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From the Marbles

Dollar General signs on with Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing

From The Marbles

It's either a case of sponsor dollars continuing to flow to NASCAR or the rich getting richer, depending on how you want to phrase it: Dollar General is doubling down with Joe Gibbs Racing, throwing sponsorship all over the team and its members for the 2012 season.

Dollar General will sponsor Joey Logano for 12 Cup races in 2012, marking the first time in Logano's career that Home Depot won't be a full-season sponsor, and the first time Home Depot hasn't been a full-season sponsor of the No. 20 car since the Tony Stewart days.

It's a significant shift in sponsor strategy for both Home Depot and Joe Gibbs Racing, and it's not hard to connect the dots here and suggest that Home Depot had lost enthusiasm for Logano. Rumors earlier this year held that Home Depot sought Carl Edwards for the sponsorship, but even without putting any credence in those rumors, the fact that Home Depot is backing down on its Logano sponsorship after being one of just seven full-season sponsors this year indicates that the company is rethinking its strategy. (Of note, and perhaps a bit of spin: Joe Gibbs Racing noted that it approached Home Depot about the Dollar General deal, and that JGR and Home Depot have a long-term deal in place.)

Dollar General, meanwhile, is laying down coin all across all three NASCAR series. In addition to the 12 races with Logano, the company will sponsor Brian Scott throughout the full Nationwide series and either the 18 or the 20 for 10 races in the Nationwide series. Dollar General will also sponsor Kyle Busch's 18 in the Truck series for 10 events.

Interestingly, Dollar General had been sponsoring Sarah Fisher Racing's Ed Carpenter in the IZOD IndyCar series, and saw Carpenter take their car to victory lane just two weeks ago in Kentucky. But the company noted that its customer base skews more toward NASCAR, and so rerouted the money it had allocated to Fisher into the various NASCAR series.

This also leaves Turner Motorsports without a major sponsor, as noted recently, and the fact that yet another sponsor is moving to align with one of NASCAR's elite teams is certain to set off another round of class warfare discussions. The dollars are continuing to flow into the sport, but they're flowing to an ever-decreasing number of cars.

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