The recently announced Farmers-to-Hendrick deal for Kasey Kahne has spawned some discussion and speculation about the future of UPS’ NASCAR sponsorship. Apparently some felt that UPS was a candidate to adorn the hood of Kahne’s future ride at HMS, but the Farmers deal seems to signal that that now won’t happen. UPS’ current deal with Roush Fenway and David Ragan is up at the end of this season, and you can be sure they will be exploring all options.
The first time – and so far only time – we saw Kahne and UPS mentioned in the same sentence publicly was in a recent post from Scene Daily’s Bob Pockrass. Pockrass speculated about where UPS could end up, and mentioned Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer as possible candidates if they decide to leave Ragan’s #6 car. But as we saw back in 2008, drivers of that caliber may be out of reach for UPS.
It is believed that the current UPS deal with RFR pays somewhere around $17-$18 million per season, and the reason the shipper ended up with Ragan back in ’08 was because that wasn’t enough to lock down a big name like Edwards for a full season. Barring a major shift in strategy and budget from UPS, numbers in that neighborhood don’t appear to be enough this time around either. Sports Business Journal’s Tripp Mickle says Farmers is paying HMS $17.6 million a season for partial sponsorship of Kahne’s car, and that might be a big sign that UPS could again be priced out of the game for upper tier drivers.
Pockrass does mention that a partial deal with UPS and Edwards might be a way for Roush to keep Big Brown. For that to happen though, UPS would have to agree to share a driver with another sponsor(s), which is something we haven’t seen them do in the past. I’m not saying it can’t or won’t happen, but it would certainly be a departure from their past deals.
With Ragan much improved this season, UPS may just end up re-signing. But there is still so much up in the air for RFR, it may be some time before we know anything definitive. If 2008 was any indication though, expect UPS to be linked with everyone and their dog for the duration of the summer.