MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 2, 2013—Great Clips announced today significant developments in its 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series plans, as the world’s largest hair salon brand, has signed a primary sponsorship agreement with JR Motorsports for 28 races next season. The partnership brings Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet to JR Motorsports, adding to a lineup that already includes Regan Smith, the series’ most recent winner, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
This will mark the 13th year Great Clips has used the Nationwide Series to market its brand, making it the series’ longest-running sponsor. Kahne has a long-standing relationship with Great Clips dating back to 2003 when the company served as primary sponsor for the up-and-coming driver for three seasons. The company also recently announced a sponsorship of Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports for three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2013.
The addition of Great Clips further establishes the JR Motorsports line-up for 2013, albeit with substantial changes from two months ago. First, it guarantees the company will field at least two entries in 28 of 33 Nationwide Series events. Smith is already committed to driving a full schedule, and Earnhardt Jr. will compete in select races in a third car.
Additionally, car numbers have been reassigned to align with Kahne’s branding in the Sprint Cup Series. Kahne and Sweet will split time in the No. 5 Chevrolet for 27 races. Smith will compete for a championship in the No. 7, and Earnhardt Jr. will carry his familiar No. 88 in a limited schedule that presently stands at four races. One of Earnhardt’s races will be with Great Clips branding to fill out the 28-race sponsorship package.
JR Motorsports General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said the organization still isn’t committing the No. 5 team to a full-season slate but continues to work at securing sponsorship to fill out the remaining six races.
“The last three months have been critical for the direction of JR Motorsports and the commitment we’ve made, and this partnership with Great Clips is a major step in the right direction,” Earnhardt Miller said. “To sign a 28-race sponsor while adding Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet to our line-up is quite extraordinary. Our goal is still to run two full-time teams, and this helps us greatly to achieve that.”
A teammate of Earnhardt’s at Hendrick Motorsports, Kahne is a 14-time Sprint Cup Series winner and seven-time Nationwide Series winner. He drove two races for JR Motorsports in 2011, finishing fourth at Kentucky Speedway and third at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kahne rejoined the Great Clips family in 2009 and, over the last three years, has competed in select Nationwide Series races with the company as his primary sponsor. Great Clips has since expanded its relationship with the Enumclaw, Wash., native over the years by being heavily involved in the driver’s charity events and serving as a primary sponsor for Kasey Kahne Racing. Part of that expansion has also included the addition of Sweet to the Great Clips driver lineup with the Grass Valley, Calif.-native carrying Great Clips branding in 18 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and 19 Nationwide Series races over the last three years.
“Great Clips has been a long-time sponsor of mine for 10 years,” Kahne said. “They support everything that I do from the Kasey Kahne Foundation to my sprint car team and they continue to grow their program in NASCAR. We all look forward to joining JR Motorsports and continuing to build on the success that they have had.”
Like Kahne, Sweet is a product of United States Auto Club (USAC). He was hired by Kasey Kahne Racing in 2007 and has given KKR seven victories, including wins at the Belleville Midget Nationals, Knoxville Midget Nationals and Four Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway.
“I’m looking forward to this new opportunity with JR Motorsports and to continue representing Great Clips, both on and off the track,” said Sweet. “They have been extremely supportive of me over the last couple of years so taking this step with them is very special for me. As a young driver in this sport, having the chance to drive under the JR Motorsports banner is an amazing opportunity that I plan to make the most of. The 2013 season is ‘gonna be great’ and I can’t wait to get it started.”
A race schedule for Kahne and Sweet in the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet is still to be determined. So, too, will Earnhardt Jr.’s Nationwide Series slate. To date his only announced races are Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway and March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, both in the No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet.
OTHER JRM NEWS: Crew chief Greg Ives, who joined JR Motorsports on Nov. 20 after a successful stint as Jimmie Johnson’s race engineer, announced this week the hiring of Travis Mack as car chief for the No. 7 team. Mack was a major player on Steve Letarte’s crew for eight years as the front-end mechanic for Jeff Gordon from 2004-10 and Earnhardt Jr. from 2011-12.
ABOUT JR MOTORSPORTS:
Based in Mooresville, N.C., JR Motorsports is the management company and racing operation for Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s 10-time Most Popular Driver and winner of more than 40 NASCAR-sanctioned races. JR Motorsports competes in multiple racing divisions, including the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in which it has earned 10 victories since its inception in 2007. In 2012 the JRM late model program won the track title at Motor Mile Speedway with driver Josh Berry, giving the company its first-ever championship. To learn more about the organization, its drivers and its sponsorship opportunities, visit www.jrmracing.com.
About Great Clips Racing
Great Clips is the longest-running sponsor in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) and has used the NNS as its primary marketing platform for the last 12 years. Great Clips is the primary sponsor of JR Motorsports’ No. 5 entry and an associate sponsor on the No. 88 entry, featuring an impressive driver lineup that includes Kasey Kahne, Brad Sweet and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. In 2012, Great Clips ventured into the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports for one race with Kahne and is committed to three Sprint Cup races in 2013 season. Extending its motorsports footprint, Great Clips also acts as primary sponsor for Kasey Kahne Racing’s World of Outlaws, including the No. 9 car driven by Daryn Pitmann. For more information, visit http://www.greatclips.com/racing.