- Associated Press - Thursday, October 13, 2011

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - In the ongoing fight to secure sponsorship dollars, Joe Gibbs Racing emerged victorious Thursday with a new deal that puts Dollar General on several of its race cars.

The partnership with JGR puts Dollar General in all three of NASCAR’s national series. The general merchandise chain will sponsor Joey Logano for 12 Sprint Cup races, a full Nationwide schedule for Brian Scott and will be on 10 Nationwide races on a second JGR car. The deal also includes 10 races for JGR driver Kyle Busch in the Trucks Series team he owns.

“This is a big day for us at Joe Gibbs Racing, and I think this is a big step also, a big day for NASCAR,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “What you have here is one of the premier companies in America … and we’re thrilled to be a part of their team.”

Gibbs will have to understand if nobody outside the JGR organization shared his enthusiasm.

The Dollar General deal came at the expense of Turner Motorsports, one of the few competitive independent teams in the Nationwide Series, and of Sarah Fisher Racing in the IndyCar Series. Both programs were dropped as the company pooled all of its sponsorship money together to get the JGR deal completed.

Dollar General chairman Rick Dreiling, who celebrated in Victory Lane with Fisher and driver Ed Carpenter two weeks ago at Kentucky, said the chance to be featured on a car in the elite Cup series was the missing piece of its marketing platform.

“Our employee and our customer indexes well past 100 percent on this sport, they love this sport,” Dreiling said. “A lot of our customers work on cars, they have cars, they have little race cars and they can relate to these guys. So it really worked itself out to where it was a natural decision.”

Dollar General had been the primary sponsor of the No. 32 Nationwide team for Turner Motorsports, which has already informed its employees of a potential downsizing at the end of the season because of the lack of funding. And Fisher has said she was hopeful the Kentucky victory would change Dollar General’s mind about cutting all sponsorship of her team.

So there was a fair share of the sour grapes mentality Thursday at JGR, one of the healthiest teams in the industry, landing a sponsor that so many other organiziations desperately need. It didn’t help that JGR claimed it went to Home Depot _ sponsor of its No. 20 car since its first full season in 1999 _ and asked the company to step back for 12 races to make room for Dollar General.

The list of teams that could have used 12 races is endless:

_Clint Bowyer’s new deal with 5-Hour Energy is for only 24 races _ leaving 12 for Michael Waltrip Racing to sell for next season.

_Tony Stewart has never been able to fully fund teammate Ryan Newman’s car, and he’s searching for sponsorship dollars to run Danica Patrick’s entry for the full season next year.

_Hendrick Motorsports has a 12-race gap open on Kasey Kahne’s car for next year.

_Roush Fenway Racing needs a sponsor for Matt Kenseth to replace Crown Royal, hasn’t announced if UPS will be back on David Ragan’s car and still needs funding for Nationwide drivers Ricky Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne.

_Richard Childress Racing is cutting down from four cars to three next season as General Mills goes from primary sponsor of Bowyer to a shared primary sponsorship of Jeff Burton.

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