Could Jimmie Johnson be the next to join Red Bull's army of athletes?
Will seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson join Red Bull’s cadre of athletes next season?
Johnson confirmed on Thursday that Red Bull was one of the companies he and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team have had discussions with about possible sponsorship beginning next season.
“There is definitely some interest there,” Johnson said at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I think there is interest from a variety of different companies. That would be one of a long list of hopefuls.”
In 2009, Red Bull added mainstream sport athletes to its roster of endorsements, which also includes persons involved in non-sporting activities. Among them are Formula 1 stars Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, WRC rally champion Sébastien Ogier, the NFL’s Reggie Bush, AMA Supercross riders Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin, as well as numerous Olympic athletes.
Red Bull operated a Cup series team for five seasons before shutting its doors in December 2011.
Lowe’s Home Improvement has been Johnson’s primary sponsor since joining the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2002.
With Lowe’s livery on the No. 48, Johnson has won a NASCAR record-tying seven Cup series titles and 83 races. Lowe’s announced earlier this season this would be its final year as a primary sponsor.
Johnson, who has taken an active role in the sponsorship search, said the process has been going “really well.”
“We will hopefully have something to announce in the near future, but the excitement about the No. 48 car, the multiple companies that are interested and the ideas and the ways that people would like to use us are very exciting and encouraging,” he said.
“Of course, we don’t want to see Lowe’s leave. We have had such an amazing run with them and there is a little bit of fear associated with such a big sponsor and such an integral part of Hendrick Motorsports leaving, but the response has been very strong and very well.
“When Mr. (Rick) Hendrick makes his decision and we are able to kind of ink what opportunities are out there, obviously those announcements will be made, but things have been going very well.”
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