Camping World’s tenure as entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Truck Series will come to an end after this season, company CEO Marcus Lemonis announced Wednesday night (July 27) via a post on Twitter.
Lemonis said the money devoted to the marketing of the series would now go toward raising the “income and benefits” of company employees.
The announcement comes with the Truck Series’ playoffs set to begin Friday night at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
— Marcus Lemonis (@marcuslemonis) July 27, 2022
Lemonis hinted at “Lots of change” in the future on Twitter earlier this year in response to a news story related to Mars, Inc., another long-time sponsor that is exiting NASCAR at the end of the year.
More than an hour after the announcement, Lemonis appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“It’s a tough call to make,” Lemonis said. “What really drove it for me was — it’s gonna sound odd to people — but I was watching the marketplace change and I was watching inflation take off and I was watching the cost of housing and car payments and everything for our 14,000 people just get more expensive every day.
“We just issued a series of raises, not because we wanted just to hold onto people, but because we realized that’s how our business works. And the reality of it is, is that math is math. And I’m a pretty provincial guy when it comes to money … and I needed to put more in the paychecks of our people and we had to make some tough calls.
“You got to make tough calls, and we’re in an environment and economy that I think is going to be perfectly fine because we’re resilient people. My people matter to me more than more than a sticker on a car or a name on a television. It’s just at the end of the day, I’m watching people struggle.”
💭 “I needed to put more in the paychecks of our people and you’ve got to make some tough calls…” #NASCAR
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) July 28, 2022
Camping World and its sister entities were the title sponsors of the Truck Series for 14 years total, starting with the 2009 season. That was after Lemonis and Camping World first entered the sport as a sponsor of John Andretti in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2006. Gander Outdoors, whose parent company is Camping World, was the Trucks title sponsor from 2019-20 before reverting back to Camping World.
As the Truck Series sponsor, it followed Craftsman Tools, which was the founding sponsor of the series beginning in 1995. Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal reported Wednesday night that Craftsman is the leading candidate to replace Camping World.
Lemonis told SiriusXM he “saved” making his announcement until he was “100%” sure NASCAR had lined up a new sponsor for the Truck Series and it was in “amazing hands.”
In recent years, Lemonis and Camping World became know for eyebrow-raising marketing stunts to promote both the Camping World brand and the Truck Series itself, including the Triple Truck Challenge.
In 2021, Camping World backed 10 different low-funded teams in the spring race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
This season, in response to fan response, Camping World sponsored two-time Truck Series champion Todd Bodine in six races in Bodine’s effort to reach 800 career NASCAR starts. Bodine made his final start last weekend at Pocono Raceway.
Lemonis’ and Camping World’s backing of NASCAR bumped up against the political world in 2015.
That year NASCAR pulled its Truck and Xfinity Series award ceremonies from the Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida.
The move came after Lemonis, a native of Lebanon, wrote a letter to then NASCAR CEO Brian France stating that neither he or any Camping World representatives would attend any future awards ceremonies at Trump properties after the “recent and ongoing blatantly bigoted and racist comments from Donald Trump in regards to immigrants of the United States.”
Camping World’s motorsports involvement didn’t end at NASCAR.
It became the entitlement sponsor of NHRA in October 2020 and was the lead sponsor of the first two seasons of the Superstar Racing Experience.
Lemonis said Camping World will continue to sponsor NHRA for a “couple more years.”
About the author
Daniel McFadin is a 7-year veteran of the NASCAR media corp. He wrote for NBC Sports from 2015 to October 2020. He's currently a freelancer and lead reporter and editor for Frontstretch. He is also host of the NASCAR show "Dropping the Hammer with Daniel McFadin" on YouTube and in podcast form.
You can email him at email@example.com.
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