Dale Earnhardt Jr. close to landing new sponsors (Update)

UPDATE The sponsor Hendrick Motorsports is close to signing to a multiyear deal for Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be new to NASCAR. HMS owner Rick Hendrick said the deal likely won't be completed in time for the sponsor to be on the hood for the July 6 race at Daytona International Speedway — the first race in which the No. 88 was unsponsored. Hendrick said National Guard likely would be on the car at DIS. "We're going to have to switch some stuff around,'' Hendrick said before Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

NASCAR's most popular driver entered the season with 13 unsponsored races. Hendrick insisted in February there was plenty of interest and he was looking for a long-term fit for the 88 and not a quick fix for this season. "This will be a pretty neat deal when we get to announce it, but I think we're in good shape,'' said Hendrick, not naming the sponsor other than to say it is new to the sport. "There hasn't been a lot of new sponsors in the sport just because of the economy and the way people go to market, a combination of a lot of things. [But] there's always been a lot of interest in him.'' ESPN

06/11/13 Hendrick Motorsports is close to finalizing sponsorship for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the rest of the season, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Team owner Rick Hendrick told the paper that the organization is close to a multiyear deal for Earnhardt, who has 13 open races for the rest of this season, beginning with the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway next month. "I’ve not been worried about it because we could sell it if we wanted to piecemeal it. We’ve been looking for the future," Hendrick told The Observer. “We don’t want to get into (sponsor relationships) where you see somebody one time and you don’t seem them anymore after that.

"I am very confident that in the next couple of weeks we should have not only this year (covered) but we should have a lot done for next year, too." Earnhardt is sponsored for 20 races this season by The National Guard and five races by Pepsi products Diet Mt. Dew and Amp. Pepsi sponsored the team for 20 races last year but cut back its sponsorship this season.

In January, Hendrick said he would rather put his hendrickcars.com brand on the hood of Earnhardt’s No. 88 car rather than lower the asking price. The SportsBusiness Journal has estimated the asking price at $800,000 per race for Earnhardt, who has been voted the sport’s most popular driver 10 times and sits fourth in the current Cup standings.

"There’s a threshold in fairness to our sponsors before I would take a cheap deal on that car short-term that would not have potential down the road; I would just rather do it myself," Hendrick said in January.

"If I’m going to give somebody a deal, I can always give it to The National Guard at a reduced price."

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