Retail giant Target will not renew its sponsorship deal with Chip Ganassi Racing and driver Kyle Larson after this season. The company announced Friday that their focus will be on soccer as they exit motorsports for good.
The Minneapolis-based retailer has been transitioning out of motorsports, last year cutting sponsorship of CGRs IndyCar operation and driver Scott Dixon. They then cut back on the number of races with Larson this season. Target has been with CGR for 27 years with a shared record of 11 championships and four Indianapolis 500 victories.
“It was a really difficult decision that we made — we’ve been with Chip Ganassi Racing for 27 years and we are ridiculously proud of the success,” senior vice president Scott Nygaard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “But the Target brand is about being fresh and new, so we felt like this was the time to make the difficult decision and expand our sports marketing platform.”
“I have had an unbelievable relationship with Target for 28 years, and I have to thank them for their longtime support,” Ganassi said in a statement. “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 begins a new one. Kyle Larson is a once in a generation talent — 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.”
Replacing Target with another primary sponsor should not be a big issue for Ganassi. One of NASCAR’s rising stars, the 24-year old Larson has three wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the last year, including two this season, and is currently second in the Cup Series points standings.
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