As first reported on Monday by Tripp Mickle of Sports Business Journal’s Sport Business Daily, longtime NASCAR sponsor, The Home Depot will be leaving the sport after their contract expires with Joe Gibbs Racing for sponsorship of their No. 20 Toyota Camry at the end of this season.
Home Depot, which splits the primary sponsorship of the No. 20 car with retailer Dollar General, only had the brand on the hood of the race car for 11 out of 38 events this season, and many of them with their ‘Husky’ tools brand in the forefront. Home Depot began in NASCAR back in 1999 with then, rookie sensation Tony Stewart behind the wheel of the orange No. 20 car which was made famous by Stewart, winning two Sprint Cup titles under the home improvement giant’s banner.
In 2009, with Stewart’s departure from JGR to field his own team with Gene Haas at Stewart-Haas Racing, Joey Logano entered the seat of the No. 20, until 2012, when Matt Kenseth came over to Gibbs after being with Jack Roush at Roush-Fenway Racing for his entire career.
Factors that are thought to contribute to Home Depot’s decision to take their marketing dollars elsewhere range from lack of sponsorship return on investment, to strong competition and a un-even ‘share of voice’ between Home Depot’s sponsorship and that of key competitor in the home improvement retail market, Lowe’s, who has associated their brand with Jimmie Johnson, a proven winner, and six-time Sprint Cup champion, with three of those coming in the last five years alone. Home Depot’s last title came in 2011 with Tony Stewart.
Neither officials from Home Depot nor Joe Gibbs Racing have made any comment on this story.