Earnhardt Jr. gets another lucrative deal By Shawn A. Akers HARRISBURG, N.C. (Jan. 13, 1999) The marketability of Dale Earnhardt Jr. certainly isn't in doubt these days. And two entities -- Earnhardt Jr. himself and Action Performance ...
Earnhardt Jr. gets another lucrative deal By Shawn A. Akers
HARRISBURG, N.C. (Jan. 13, 1999) The marketability of Dale Earnhardt Jr. certainly isn't in doubt these days. And two entities -- Earnhardt Jr. himself and Action Performance Companies, Inc. -- are shaping up to become the major benefactors.
On Wednesday during a press conference at Action Performance's Charlotte facility, as part of the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by UAW-GM Motorsports, it was announced that Action has extended its current exclusive licensing agreement with the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division champion for the next seven years.
Not only has Earnhardt Jr. raced his way into being arguably the most popular NASCAR Busch Series driver of all-time in just one season, he has also secured his immediate future with a lucrative NASCAR Winston Cup Series deal. Earnhardt Jr. will be racing for his father, seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt for the next few years, with Budweiser as his sponsor. He'll begin driving full- time in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in the year 2000.
Being thrust into the spotlight so quickly, and perhaps stepping out of the shadow of his father has caught Earnhardt Jr. a bit by surprise. But, by the same token, it has allowed him to be introduced to the other sides of racing, such as business and economics.
"1998 was an exciting year for me, and Action did a great job with helping me to get the fans excited about the race against my father at the Coca-Cola 500 race in Japan (the exhibition race at Motegi, Japan, in November)," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I'm glad to be working with the Action team, and I'm confident the next few years will be just as exciting.
"It makes you feel good when a company so large as this has the confidence in you to carry their name. I've experienced that with ACDelco and Budweiser, and now with Action. I'm looking forward to a great partnership with this company."
"He's the man next to the man," said Don Hawk of Dale Earnhardt Inc., who recently resigned as director of Action Performance. "The neat thing is that Dale Jr. doesn't get lost in the Junior part. With Dale Jr., I'm sure he's going to bring this company to a new level. At DEI, my job is to market Dale Jr., as I did Dale Sr., and I'm really looking forward to it."
Under the terms of the contract, the current licensing and endorsement agreement will extend through the year 2005. Action will retain the exclusive rights to license and distribute all categories of licensed merchandise, including die-cast collectible cars, toys, games, action figures, apparel items and other products.
"Like his father and grandfather before him, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a true champion, and Action is proud to be linked with this rising star," said Fred W. Wagenhals, Action chairman, president and CEO. "As we enter a new millennium, he represents the future of motorsports."
"Action's commitment to supporting drivers' career, promoting motorsports and keeping fans excited is unparalleled," Dale Earnhardt Sr. said. "My own long-standing relationship with Action Performance has been extremely positive, and I'm glad to see that relationship has extended to my son."
And with the way Earnhardt Jr.'s career has been going lately, you can bet that it will extend a lot further in the future.
Source: NASCAR Online