Axalta won’t be the only company regularly appearing on two Cup Series cars in 2018.
Team Penske announced Wednesday that Menards would serve as a primary sponsor for Ryan Blaney in 2018. Blaney is moving from the Wood Brothers No. 21 car to a third Team Penske car for next season.
Menards is the first sponsor announced for Blaney’s No. 12 car. The company currently sponsors Paul Menard — owner John Menard’s son — at Richard Childress Racing. Paul is moving from RCR to the No. 21 in 2018.
The Menards announcement comes a day after Motorcraft, Blaney’s current sponsor, said it was staying with the No. 21 car for 12 races next year. Menards will sponsor the rest of the races in the No. 21, joining Axalta in the two-car ranks.
When Hendrick Motorsports announced William Byron would drive for the team in 2018, it said Axalta would be one of his sponsors. That revelation came after the team said Axalta would also sponsor Alex Bowman in the No. 88 car. Bowman is replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Last season, Menards upped its commitment to Penske’s IndyCar team and is the primary sponsor for defending IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud. It’s our belief the company has become the most important sponsor in North American motorsports.
As the title sponsor for ARCA, a sponsor of Matt Crafton in the Camping World Truck Series team, a part-time sponsor for Childress in the Xfinity Series (and maybe Penske in 2018), a sponsor in the IndyCar Series and now a sponsor of two Cup Series car; every major North American racing series outside of IMSA would be impacted if Menards left racing. No other company would have that wide-ranging of a sponsor ripple effect.
No other company would have that wide-ranging of a sponsor ripple effect. And adding Menards as a sponsor of a second car is yet another sign the NASCAR sponsorship market is struggling. If sponsors were clamoring to get into racing, two major companies regularly double-dipping wouldn’t be necessary.
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