NASCAR will go into 2009 with openings in at least four categories -- rental car, quick-service restaurant, home improvement store and digital photography -- while five other sponsors renewed their official status deals.
The biggest defection comes from Home Depot, which has spent the last 10 years as NASCAR's official home improvement warehouse. It is one of four official partners that decided not to renew its league deal amid budget constraints.
It's just a matter of figuring out how to best spend our marketing dollars in a tough economy," said Home Depot spokeswoman Jean Niemi.
Enterprise, Domino's Pizza and Kodak also elected to let their official status deals expire. These agreements, which normally range from three to five years in length, typically go for the low seven figures annually.
Jim O'Connell, NASCAR's vice president of corporate marketing, characterized the departures as "companies that are leaving the sport entirely. They all had bad years, earnings-wise, and they're looking at tighter budgets.
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