Craftsman pulling out as title sponsor after '08

NASCAR is looking for a new truck series sponsor.

Sears' Craftsman brand, the truck series' title sponsor since its inception in 1995, will relinquish its entitlement rights after the 2008 season.

"Craftsman has been a great, longstanding partner and intends to remain in the sport," Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer, said in a joint announcement with Sears on Dec. 4. "The current series name will continue through the 2008 season with the same great commitment Craftsman has demonstrated throughout its 13-year history as the series' entitlement sponsor."

Craftsman doesn't plan to abandon its involvement with NASCAR altogether, said Scott Howard, manager of marketing partnerships for Sears.

"... We have developed strong relationships with millions of loyal NASCAR fans we value greatly," Howard said in a statement. "While we will be relinquishing title sponsorship of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at the end of 2008, we continue to explore new opportunities within NASCAR."

Ron Hornaday Jr. last month won his third Craftsman Truck Series championship with a record $1,137,044 in winnings.

Earlier this year, NASCAR announced that its top two series would be undergoing sponsorship change. The Nextel Cup Series will be known as the Sprint Cup in 2008, and the Busch Series will be renamed the Nationwide Series.