Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

So just how much would it cost for Rick Hendrick to sign Jimmie Johnson to a lifetime contract?

  Car owner Rick Hendrick (R) congratulating Jimmie Johnson on winning the 2008 NASCAR title at Homestead....a scene expected to be repeated again, for a fourth time, this weekend (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   So already the accolades are rolling in for soon-to-be four-time NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson – Friday sponsor Lowe's re-upped with Johnson and team owner Rick Hendrick through the 2013 season, and Hendrick himself signed his star driver to a new contract that runs through 2015, when Johnson will turn 40.
   Hendrick, who will win his ninth Cup championship in Sunday's Miami Ford 400 (all since 1995), said "The key to success is keeping people together. 
    "This has been a fantastic ride with Jimmie.  He and I have said we'd like to retire together. 
    "And Lowe's has been an unbelievable sponsor.  They've built a lot of their marketing around Jimmie and Chad and the race team.  They've been some of the best partners we've ever had in the sport.
    "We're just real excited about keeping the whole deal intact."
    But so far Hendrick has been unable to sign Johnson to the same 'lifetime' deal that he signed teammate Jeff Gordon to. 
   "Jeff and I have an agreement -- as long as he drives in Cup, he's going to drive our car," Hendrick said. 
    "I'm hoping he's going to drive a bunch more years: We know it's going to be at least three or four.
    "Jimmie and I tried to look at a lifetime deal. I couldn't borrow enough money to make it work," Hendrick said with cryptic smile.
    "Anytime you're dealing with a guy that's accomplished what he has in the sport, it's a huge commitment on both parts, because you're looking at really six (more) years, because we have next year (already contracted) and five beyond."
   And Chad Knaus, the crew chief for all these titles?
   "Chad and I have talked about retiring together…so we're in the process of getting that all papered," Hendrick said.  
    "Our goal -- and everybody's on the same page -- is keeping this thing together for the foreseeable future."
    That's good news on the sponsorship front for NASCAR, in a season where, with the weak economy, there has been precious little of that.
   "In the last probably 10 to 15 years you've had more sponsors that are using the driver as a spokesman in their marketing more so than you did way back when you had tobacco and beer and other sponsors," Hendrick said.  
   "And when you get all that chemistry working well, it's to everybody's advantage to keep it going. If a sponsor's going to spend the kind of money they've spent on Jimmie Johnson, surely they want to perform, but they think long and hard before they make a change.
    "It's almost like a brand -- building a brand with a driver and a sponsor. That's why you see these things last."
    But only with success, of course.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com