Sponsor Texaco/Havoline prepares for final NASCAR race

Texaco/Havoline, which has sponsored a car in NASCAR’s Cup series for the last 22 years, will have its final outing in this weekend’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Parent company Chevron announced in August that it had opted to discontinue the sponsorship that has seen Texaco/Havoline split time with Wrigley gum this season on the Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya.

“It was a very, very difficult decision for Texaco/Havoline and for the Chevron corporation to make," said Ann Barker, manager of motorsports and sponsorships for the corporation. “It wasn’t made lightly. We have been in the sport for 22 seasons.

“We kind of hope that we are considered an icon in it, and we appreciated our fans so very, very much. NASCAR fans are obviously a huge and important target market."

Texaco began in the sport in 1987 with driver Davey Allison at Ranier Racing, which became Robert Yates Racing in 1989.

It also sponsored Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Kenny Irwin and Ricky Rudd at Yates before moving to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2003 with Jamie McMurray.

At Ganassi, the company also sponsored the teams of Casey Mears and Montoya.

“It’s really for us a matter of working with our marketers and wanting to move to more locally focused marketing," Barker said. “We do not have distribution throughout the United States. We really wanted to take this spend and focus on it locally. It doesn’t mean the marketing dollars are going away by any stretch; they’re just shifting the marketing strategy."

Barker indicated that it “remains to be seen" if the local marketing directors will do something in NASCAR.

“We’re not walking away from NASCAR – that fan base will always be important," Barker said. More at Scenedaily.com

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