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NEW YORK (AP) -- NASCAR was finalizing a deal Tuesday night with Nationwide Insurance to sponsor its No. 2 series beginning in 2008, The Associated Press has learned.

Nationwide will replace Anheuser-Busch, which has sponsored the second-tier Busch Series for 26 seasons but said earlier this year it would end its entitlement deal at the conclusion of this season.

The deal with Nationwide is estimated to be seven years at $10 million a year, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who requested anonymity because the deal had yet to be completed. A-B was paying roughly the same amount, and NASCAR initially had sought an increase in the price of the series.

But despite a flurry of early suitors, NASCAR was unable to secure sponsorship in a search that has stretched nearly 10 months. A deal with Subway appeared to be imminent in August, but never materialized.

That opened the door for Nationwide, which presented an offer late last week. Subway also re-entered the picture, but NASCAR instead moved ahead on Nationwide's offer.

Allstate is the official insurance company of NASCAR, but this new sponsorship deal will likely require Nationwide to take over that role.

NASCAR officials did not immediately return a call for comment.

In January, Nationwide signed a four-year extension with Speedway Motorsports Inc., owner of six NASCAR tracks. The deal called for the insurance company to build fan zone areas at several of SMI properties.

Now, as title sponsor of a series, Nationwide is expected to reach a similar deal with International Speedway Corp. ISC currently has a contract that lists AAA Insurance as the ``Official Auto Club'' of its 11 tracks.

ISC is the publicly traded sister company of NASCAR, and both are owned by the France family.

It's not clear if Nationwide will be required to meet advertising requirements with ESPN, which is in the first year of an eight-year contract to exclusively broadcast the Busch Series. ESPN worked with NASCAR to find a new sponsor for the series, and it was believed that the advertising requirement held up talks with several companies.

It's also not clear what Nationwide will call the series, which has been the Busch Series since A-B took over as title sponsor for what was first known as Late Model Sportsman and later the Grand National Series.

Premium Member
24,079 Posts
After all that... NASCAR wanting 3 times what Busch would pay and they settle for just the same as what Busch paid a season. That's funny. Wonder if we'll have the same problems with Nationwide as Nextel did in forcing sponsors out and keeping other sponsors from put their name on a car.
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