Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Jeff Gordon and DuPont? What next?

  Jeff Gordon and Ella Sophia (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   The tiff between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson may not be the biggest story going on in that side of the Rick Hendrick camp.
   Gordon himself hints at more, when he indicated here that long-time sponsor DuPont may not be the lead sponsor next season for the full year, and when he revealed sponsorship negotiations with Shell while that company was mulling its options.
   Shell announced last week it was moving from the Richard Childress-Kevin Harvick team to the Roger Penske-Kurt Busch camp.
   While Gordon is a four-time NASCAR champ, with 82 tour wins over his career, he turns 40 next year. He went winless in 2008, won just once in 2009, and he's winless so far in 2010; during that span Johnson has won 17 times.
   Gordon, Hendrick and DuPont in 2008 signed a new two-year contract, for an estimated $20 million a year. That contract runs through the end of this season.
    And while DuPont will apparently return in some role, Gordon indicates some big issues are still up in the air.
   "We're openly pursuing things," Gordon said.
   "DuPont is still going to play a major role in our organization and with the team.  But the overall cost of the sport, and the way the trends are progressing, it's tough to have one sponsor that can cover everything. 
    "We had a lot of conversations with Shell/Pennzoil...and we have a lot going on right now as well."
   In fact some on the sidelines are saying that Johnson's amazing run of success has made Gordon perhaps "irrelevant," to some degree.
   Gordon agrees: "I would say me and 41 other guys out there, absolutely. 
    "When somebody dominates the sport like that, he's taken a majority of the guys out of the picture. 
    "What is amazing to me is that he doesn't have the media exposure and some of the fan following more than he does, because I feel like he's done everything he possibly could do. 
    "I would agree with that (irrelevant)....and we haven't had the package to compete with him.  That's what I'm excited about this year -- I feel like I do."

    However Johnson already has three wins this season, while Gordon is winless in over a year.
    That all may be the reason for the tiff. Gordon body-slammed Johnson in a pass at Texas that caught everyone's attention two weeks ago. Then last weekend at Talladega Johnson chopped off Gordon in traffic late in the race, triggering a crash that took Gordon out of the race.
    Hendrick stepped in earlier this week to orchestrate a conference call with his two drivers to clear the air.
    Both drivers say 'it's all good, and we've moved on.'
    Not everyone buys that, however.
     "We had a good conversation," Gordon says. "It's amazing what happens when you get Mr. H involved.
    "We all recognize what contributes to everything that happened at Texas as well as Talladega. 
    "I feel the most important thing is that all the communication we have during the week and at the track is what contributes to our success as a group, and is too important to let a rivalry escalate out of control. 
    "It's okay to have rivalries, we understand that. We're very competitive.  All that is good and healthy.
     "He pleaded his case, and I pleaded mine, and we both said 'Yep, it's all good,' and we've moved on."

   [Note: You can use Twitter as an easy headline service for mikemulhern.net stories, with our instant Tweets to your mobile as soon as our newest NASCAR story is filed. And mikemulhern.net is mobile-friendly for viewing. You can also use the orange RSS feed button as a quickie headline service on your laptop or home computer for mikemulhern.net stories, by creating a Live Bookmark RSS feed on your web browser's toolbar. Or you can create a Google Alert for mikemulhernnet.]


   DuPont's NASCAR colors, so familiar on the stock car tour for so many years (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Gordon Is Just Now Figuring Out The Sport Is Too Expensive?

It is amazing that so many in the sport ignored all the warning signs that the sport is spending itself toward irrelevance. And Jeff Gordon is basically figuring out just now that the sport is too expensive.

Jeff, if you're concerned about your sponsors not able to pay for an entire season, how about speaking up for a team spending cap?

if nascar can handle all the

if nascar can handle all the paperwork to ensure that each team owner has only four teams -- a big if, and i'm not really sure that's not simply being finesed -- then it should be able to handle a spending cap too, shouldn't it? same deal for both: show me you 1040s and inc. papers......i always liked robby gordon's approach (back when you could do this) of getting four $4m sponsors, to hit the magic $16M threshold. when the threshold leaped to $30M or so (according to RayEv), that was too much....no wonder he bailed out (and got a check for like $40M....)

Concerns Yes, But NASCAR Can Have A Spending Cap

NASCAR can enforce a tighter team limit (it needs to be three, not four) and a spending cap via the entry blanks - it can refuse entry blanks for extra cars/teams cheating on the cap. Concerns about enforcement have legitimacy as you note with "a big if," but it can be done.

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