The times they are a changin'.
Hendrick Motorsports officially announced Wednesday that AARP foundation and its Drive to End Hunger would be Gordon's primary sponsor in 2011. The arrangement between AARP, DuPont and Pepsi Co. -- another longtime sponsor of Gordon's -- will be similar to the arrangement between Tony Stewart, Office Depot, Mobil 1 and Burger King. AARP will sponsor Gordon in 22 races, while DuPont and Pepsi will pick up the rest.
DuPont, Jeff Gordon's longtime rainbow (and subsequent flames) sponsor announced earlier in the year that it would be scaling back its involvement with the No. 24 team, leaving Gordon with a gaping sponsorship hole -- err, hood -- to fill.
And let's be honest, no other NASCAR driver screams "Fortune 500" like Jeff Gordon, so it was inevitable that a major corporation would step in and fill the void, right?
Before you start complaining in the comments that the money would be better served going to needy families instead of sponsoring Gordon, raise your hand if you had heard of AARP's hunger charity work before this week. What's that? You're not raising your hand?
In certain instances, a charity has to act like a company, and this is one of them. The costs to sponsor Gordon's car can be made up through increased awareness. It's safe to say that by May of 2011, that every serious NASCAR fan and a lot of casual ones will know who Jeff Gordon's sponsor is. That type of exposure doesn't come free.
- Jeff Gordon