Sunday, July 29, 2007
Dodge may be willing to make room for Bud on No. 9 Dodge
By David Newton
INDIANAPOLIS -- Dodge Motorsports may be willing to give up its logo on the hood of Kasey Kahne's Nextel Cup car if a deal can be finalized with Budweiser.
"The company is always looking for good long-term relationships,'' said Darryl Jackson, the vice president of sales for Chrysler. "Budweiser or whoever is a very, very solid brand. It brings with it a very good clientele base of which just so happens to line up with us pretty well from a Dodge perspective."
Kahne is Budweiser's top choice to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr., who recently announced he would not keep the beer company as his primary sponsor at Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 and that he was ending his personal services deal.
One of the obstacles standing in the way was Dodge Motorsports, which would have to put aside its long-term deal to be on the hood of Kahne's car.
Team owner Ray Evernham, who has been negotiating with Budweiser, said the deal would help alleviate some of the financial strain on Dodge. Evernham added he has several other options for Kahne's sponsor.
"I am in favor of bringing any sponsors in that increase the awareness of our brand,'' Jackson said.
Jackson added that the recent purchase of Chrysler by Cerberus will not impact Dodge's commitment to motorsports.
"We haven't really talked specifically on the aspect of racing, but Tom LaSorda runs the Chrysler Group,'' Jackson said. "Tom LaSorda is committed to racing.
"... We have long-term contracts and commitments and we will honor those long-term contracts and commitments, and they are long term."
David Newton covers motorsports for ESPN.com.