Target Cuts Ties With NASCAR Team After 28 Years

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Following a nearly three-decade relationship, mega retailer Target is yanking its label and funding from longtime NASCAR team, Chip Ganassi Racing.

As NBC Sports reports, Target is breaking down the relationship it’s had with Chip Ganassi Racing since 1989 and is ending its current contract with the team at the end of the season. Target’s exit from NASCAR follows their similar exit from IndyCar last year, with which they also partnered with CGR.

In a statement from CGR, they look back on the fond memories of their partnership and explain how even though there won’t be a Target badge on their vehicles anymore, they have built some everlasting relationships with great people in the retail industry.

“I have had an unbelievable relationship with Target for 28 years and I have to thank them for their long-time support. It has been so much more than a team-sponsor relationship. They have their finger prints on so much of what Chip Ganassi Racing has become. I have had numerous mentors and developed great friendships over the years at Target and fully expect many of those to continue but this news simply closes one chapter of our race team and also begins a new one. Kyle Larson is a once in a generation talent, he and the No. 42 Chevrolet will still be on the track for a long time, the only difference is that they will have different colors.”

CGR and Target first began their relationship in 1989 with the retailer becoming a NASCAR Cup Series major sponsor in 2001, and became a full-time primary sponsor in 2002.

Target also issued a statement about their exit from the racing industry and explained exactly what prompted them to make that decision, and revealed where they were headed next.

“We are enormously proud of how Chip and the entire Ganassi Racing team have represented the Target brand throughout our partnership. Together, we’ve seen tremendous success in NASCAR over the past 16 seasons, both on and off the track.

As we looked to evolve our sports marketing program, soccer provided Target with a unique opportunity to reach our guests in new places, and at all levels of the sport. Through partnerships with Major League Soccer, Minnesota United FC, US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Target has been able to create meaningful connections with players, fans and families, no matter how they participate in the sport. We will continue to build on these and other soccer investments in 2018 and beyond.

Over the past season, Target has worked closely with Chip Ganassi Racing on this transition. We have incredible respect for Chip and the talented team he has assembled, and are confident they will continue to see great success for years to come.”

The mega-retailer first began its exit from NASCAR this season by reducing the number of races for which it was the primary sponsor and handed the torch to CreditOne Bank. It’s unknown who will become the primary sponsor for next season, but it likely won’t be difficult to find one – especially since sponsorship from Fortune 500 companies has increased almost 30% since 2008.

Watch the video below from last year’s victory by Kyle Larson and Target!