By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Target has decided to leave Chip Ganassi Racing and focus its sports budget primarily on soccer. Target will remain in NASCAR through the rest of this season, before leaving.
This greatly impacts the Target team, including driver Kyle Larson. He’s second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings.
The retail company had a 28-year run with Ganassi as a sponsor in his IndyCar, NASCAR and sportscar programs. Larson, despite this announcement, will remain with the team.
He’ll be 25-years-old next week.
“Kyle Larson is a once-in-a-generation talent,” Ganassi said. “He and the No. 42 Chevrolet will still be on the track for a long time. The only difference is that they will have different colors.”
Target left IndyCar last season.
“As we looked to evolve our sports marketing program, soccer provided Target with a unique opportunity to reach our guests in new places, and at all levels of the sport,” Target’s announcement said. “Through partnerships with Major League Soccer, Minnesota United FC, US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Target has been able to create meaningful connections with players, fans and families, no matter how they participate in the sport.”
Ganassi first used the Target colors in 2002 with Jimmy Spencer. This was Ganassi’s second-year in NASCAR after purchasing the team from Felix Sabates.
“We are enormously proud of how Chip and the entire Ganassi Racing team have represented the Target brand throughout our partnership,” Target added. “Together, we’ve seen tremendous success in NASCAR over the past 16 seasons, both on and off the track. … We have incredible respect for Chip and the talent team he has assembled, and are confident they will continue to see great success for years to come.”
At this time, with the news coming on Friday, Ganassi will have several months to find a new primary sponsor for Larson’s team. It costs millions for a company to step up to the plate to sponsor a NASCAR team for a year.
“I have had an unbelievable relationship with Target for 28 years, and I have to thank them for their longtime support,” Ganassi said. “It has been so much more than a team-sponsor relationship. They have their fingerprints on so much of what Chip Ganassi Racing has become.
“I have had numerous mentors and developed great friendships over the years at Target and fully expect many of those to continue, but this news simply closes one chapter of our race team and also brings a new one.”
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