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Roger Penske may land Shell sponsorship for Kurt Busch, in a blow to rival team owner Richard Childress and Kevin Harvick

  Roger Penske (C) gets doused with champagne by Kurt Busch, in victory lane at Atlanta (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   The hits just keep on coming, and the latest shakeup in the balance of power on the NASCAR tour looks to involve mega-sponsor Shell, which has been sponsoring Chevy team owner Richard Childress and Kevin Harvick the past three years.
   Shell's lucrative sponsorship, in NASCAR under the Pennzoil logo, appears headed to the Roger Penske camp for 2011, apparently to Kurt Busch's Dodge team, replacing Penske's long-time sponsor Miller.
   What a Shell-Pennzoil sponsorship move might mean for long-time Penske sponsor Mobil (part of Exxon Mobil, one of the world's biggest companies) is unclear. Mobil is currently sponsoring Penske and Sam Hornish. Penske has indicated this has to be a breakthrough season for Hornish, his third on the Cup tour, following an impressive Indy-car championship career.
   Exxon was once a significant sponsor for NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick. However one report is that MobilExxon might be a good option for the Joe Gibbs' operation, which has been looking for sponsorship for a fourth Cup team; Gibbs' Denny Hamlin has won two of the last three Cup races.
   And it seems unlikely that Miller, which has been in the Penske camp for years, would drop out of NASCAR, even though the beer business hasn't been that good lately. Busch, who joined Penske in 2006 after winning the Cup championship in 2004 for Jack Roush, has seven tour wins with Penske, including the Atlanta 500 a few weeks ago.
   Another NASCAR beer sponsorship in play now is rival Budweiser, with Kasey Kahne leaving the George Gillett-Richard Petty team to join Hendrick in 2011.
   Shell opened its NASCAR venture with Harvick's dramatic win in the 2007 Daytona 500. However the team hasn't won since. And Harvick is considering his own plans for 2011, when his current contract with Childress is up.
   Childress had to cut from four Cup teams to three season after losing sponsor Jack Daniels, and that cost driver Casey Mears his ride.
   Childress now appears in the market for another major sponsor, and it's unclear if he and Harvick will be back next season. It is unclear how the Shell move might affect Childress and Harvick's negotiations.
   Childress last year didn't have a very successful NASCAR run, but this spring his three teams have come back strong. Harvick sits fourth in the standings; teammate Jeff Burton, who had a good shot at winning Monday's Texas 500, sits eighth; teammate Clint Bowyer, 14th.
   More Penske angles are likely to be played out eventually. For one, Brad Keselowski, who won last spring's Talladega 500, though he is unofficially backed by Verizon, cannot carry the Verizon colors on his Cup car because of NASCAR's exclusivity rules with series sponsor Sprint.
   Could Keselowski get a Penske-Miller deal? That would be a very high-profile sponsorship package for Keselowski, who is new to the sport but who has been impressive, and controversial, in his few Cup races.
     And then, in the cell phone situation, what to make of AT&T, which buys large numbers of ads on NASCAR races, though it has no team under sponsorship?
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  Kevin Harvick: what next? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



What business does NASCAR

What business does NASCAR have with these stupid exclusivity rules? Are they THAT afraid of a rival cellphone company sponsoring a car in a series sponsored by Sprint? NASCAR needs to learn that rivalries in sponsorships is not a bad thing.

Ditto STP: I kinda love it

Ditto STP:

I kinda love it when it used to be STP v Purolator; Budweiser v Miller Lite; Maxwell House v Folgers; Home Depot v Lowe's on the track.

If yo' ass gets beat. Yo ass gets beat. Go back to the house and build a better racer!

NASCAR prolly wants it too, but the exclu$ivity rules are based on $$$ invested in. Imagine all the loot SPRINT puts in the Cup series and lets say Brad Keleslowski driving, winning the Chase in a car sponsored by VERIZON will look cheesy on a corporate level. Pride and feelings hurt by company execs who don't know a thing about racin'. It happens all the time in racin' like Kurt Busch #2 Miller Lite Dodge winning the Coors Lite Pole, stuff like that....

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