Another longtime NASCAR team sponsor is heading for the exits.
Nationwide confirmed a Sports Business Journal report that the company would end its sponsorship of Alex Bowman and the No. 88 car at Hendrick Motorsports at the end of 2019. The company had signed a two-year deal through the 2020 season but is exercising an out clause to get out a year early. Its extension came along with a two-year extension that Bowman had signed with the team.
“As Nationwide’s business needs evolve, we are adjusting our marketing resources to ensure that we are aligning to those new business priorities,” the team said in a statement to SBJ. “With that in mind, we have informed Hendrick Motorsports of our decision to step away from our sponsorship of the 88 team at the end of the year.”
Bowman replaced Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Bowman is in his second full-time season replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick. Bowman filled in for Junior during the 2016 season as Junior missed time because of a concussion and was named as his replacement driver in the middle of Junior’s farewell season.
Bowman is currently in the middle of his best Cup Series season too. He’s 10th in the points standings and has five top-10 finishes through the first 15 races of the season. He made the playoffs a year ago and was 16th in the standings.
Nationwide came to Hendrick in 2015
The insurance company served as the title sponsor of NASCAR’s No. 2 series from 2008-14 before Xfinity took over the naming rights. Nationwide moved from the now-Xfinity Series to Hendrick ahead of the 2015 season to pair up with Junior.
Its departure also continues a pattern of sponsor turnover at Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson’s longtime sponsor Lowe’s left after the 2018 season (and was replaced by Ally) while Great Clips and Farmer’s Insurance left after Kasey Kahne parted ways with the team after the 2017 season.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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