Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 1/13/12

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 16: David Ragan speaks with the media during NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway on January 16, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)

 

It’s hard to believe that a driver who finished fourth in Sprint Cup Series standings and earned three race wins in 2011 is now without a sponsor for over half of the 2012 season.  Crown Royal announced on June 28th that they would not return to sponsor the #17 in 2012 and is withdrawing from NASCAR completely.  Leaving Homestead, Kenseth was very concerned with finding sponsorship for the upcoming season. 

Kenseth isn’t the only driver at RFR with sponsorship trouble.  The team was forced to let driver David Ragan go after UPS transferred their sponsorship to Edwards to serve as an associate sponsor for the No.99 team.

Ragan won one race—in July at Daytona—but failed to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup in any of his three seasons with UPS.  RFR has gone from a strong four car team, to a three car team that is in need of sponsorship.  Will the dynamics of the team change at RFR for the 2012 season?

 “I think it’ll be fine”, Kenseth told media on Thursday.  “I guess if there's anything to be concerned about or think about it's just we've lost so many people over the off-season. I think we've lost some important people and some people that -- not on the 17 but within the organization, some people that had access to everything are pretty much at every single different team throughout the garage. So I think anything you have that you maybe thought was an advantage through last year, things we learned, has certainly disappeared. So I think that's going to make us have to work extra hard to be able to find something that's a little bit better to try to get an edge on some of them guys again.”

Despite Kenseth’s sponsorship dilemma, Roush Fenway Racing announced late December that Best Buy has joined the team to primary sponsor the No. 17 car for nine races.  Best Buy will also serve as a primary sponsor for Carl Edwards for two races.

“I'm really excited Best Buy is coming in for I guess its nine races, so that's a good start” Kenseth said. “We've got a lot of races that are empty in our car still, more than two thirds of the season, but I'm really thankful that they came on for the Daytona 500, get the year started, and to be an associate on our car all year and be with Carl's car. So they've been a great sponsor of the sport. They've been around for a long time, and I'll be proud to fly their colors and hopefully can have some success with them.

RFR will field four cars in the season opener at Daytona; 2011 Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will field the No. 6 car in the Daytona 500.  No word yet if Stenhouse will run more Cup races for the team.

 

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