NASCAR’s most popular driver needs more sponsors image

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s biggest star, is without sponsorship for nearly one-third of the season.

Just three weeks from the start of the Daytona Speedweeks, Earnhardt Jr. still needs a sponsor for 13 of the 38 Sprint Cup Series races scheduled this season. Pepsi reduced its involvement with the team, and now Hendrick Motorsports has to find other companies willing to fill the void for Earnhardt’s No. 88 car. The team is not rushing though.

“You can take a short-term deal and fill the car up or you can try to work with someone who is going to be a long-term situation and is going to be there for years to come. I’m looking for the right deal, not any deal,” team owner Rick Hendrick was quoted as saying by USA Today during the Sprint Media Tour.

Hendrick could fill the races with one-off sponsors, but would rather find a partner willing to get involved on the longterm. He indicated that Earnhardt could enter the season with open inventory on the car. The National Guard, one of Earnhardt’s sponsors, is increasing its involvement from 18 to 20 races this year, while Pepsi is only planning five Diet Dew-sponsored races in 2013 instead of 20 last year.