Under Armour enters NASCAR, signs deals with Hendrick, MWR

0 Comments

After a one-year trial sponsorship with Hendrick Motorsports, sporting goods giant Under Armour has inked multi-year sponsorship deals with both Hendrick and Michael Waltrip Racing as it officially moves deeper into the NASCAR world.

According to Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Journal, the deals will not include the teams’ drivers but in the case of Hendrick, UA can use the likenesses, cars, and numbers for that team’s quartet of racers: Six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, current Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, and Kasey Kahne.

In addition to sponsoring the teams, UA will also outfit them as well – from those working in the pits to those within their respective front offices.

The Hendrick deal is actually a three-year extension, while the MWR deal is a two-year pact. UA will also sponsor MWR’s new athletic facility and gym at its North Carolina headquarters.

UA already has a sizable portfolio of clients across many sports, from college football programs to U.S. Olympic Team members. But the Baltimore-based company is now making its way into NASCAR in a bid to not only raise awareness and sales of its athletic line of apparel but its outdoor/hunting line as well.

Mickle reports that in addition to tapping into NASCAR’s passionate fan base as a whole, UA officials were spurred on by “a general sense” that NASCAR fans tended to enjoy the Great Outdoors through hunting and fishing more than other sports fans – which could give them a prime marketing opportunity with their outdoor products.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
4 Comments

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”