CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Officials with Chip Ganassi Racing and driver Kyle Larson announced a two-race sponsorship with credit card processor First Data on Monday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
First Data, whose corporate headquarters are located in Atlanta, will be the primary sponsor on Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet for upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway and Martinsville Speedway.
First Data and Martinsville Speedway officials recently announced the company would hold the naming rights to the track’s fall Monster Energy Series race, which will now be known as the First Data 500. That agreement is for three years, according to First Data.
The company served as a sponsor on the No. 1 Chevrolet of teammate Jamie McMurray at Martinsville last season. It will return in an associate role with McMurray at Martinsville this year.
Larson, 25, has three wins this season and is currently third in points.
“Last year we got a little bit of Chip’s car,” First Data chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano said. “This year we’ve got two cars. It’s all about forward trajectory. They are great guys to be in business with.”
Larson’s team currently carries primary sponsorship from Target and its related partners, however the retailer has said it will not return after the completion of the ’17 season.
Ganassi indicated First Data could be a partner in ’18 as well. Larson said he was confident funding would be in place, adding, “We have a lot of important things to worry about the rest of this year, a championship being one of them.
“Obviously with Target leaving a lot of people are probably looking at what we have for the future and I think this (First Data relationship) is a great step.”
Ganassi, a former racer, has been a NASCAR team owner since 2001 and open-wheel owner since the late ’80s. The current sponsorship climate is nothing new to the veteran car owner.
“I guess in some respects its more difficult than it’s ever been and in other respects it’s never been easy,” Ganassi said. “It’s just part of the business. You have to go with the flow.
“We’re going to be here; this is the only business I have. We’re going to be in business. … I think (the current climate) presents opportunities for us, more than anything, to go find new businesses, new partners, new people that are interested in the sport.”