Team Penske's booming off-season sponsor haul grows with an expanded partnership with the Auto Club. The two organizations today announced a multi-year extension of their sponsorship agreement as the Automobile Club of Southern California and its affiliated clubs will sponsor Penske Racing teams competing in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the IZOD IndyCar Series.
AAA will sponsor the No. 22 Dodge driven by 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In addition, AAA will also extend its support to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2011 as a sponsor of the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara-Honda driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves (ABOVE).
"We are excited to broaden our racing affiliation with the Penske organization," said Thomas V. McKernan, Auto Club CEO. "The extension of our agreement is just one part of our ongoing relationship with Penske which includes a truck rental member discount program and Penske auto dealerships in our vehicle purchasing program. Since starting with Penske Racing in 2008, we've experienced good results through our activation programs. Expanding our relationship with the Penske Racing organization to include its outstanding IndyCar team allows us to reach a distinct, diverse fan demographic, and we expect great results there, too."
Under the new agreement, the Auto Club will be displayed as primary sponsor for the No. 22 Dodge driven by Busch in the March 27 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Busch will also drive the AAA Dodge at the June 5 race at Kansas Speedway and the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 6 as part of the Chase. AAA will also be a co-primary sponsor at two other events during the 2011 season – April 17 at Talladega Superspeedway and July 17 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – and will serve as a major associate sponsor for the balance of the season on the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.
"The Auto Club has been a great partner with Penske Racing and I'm looking forward to welcoming them to the No. 22 Dodge team next season," said Busch. "We will work hard to make sure the Auto Club car will be running and finishing at the front."
Castroneves will compete in the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske IndyCar at Long Beach on April 17 and at the doubleheader event at Texas Motor Speedway on June 17.
"I am really excited to have the opportunity to drive the AAA car and represent the Auto Club," said Castroneves. "We've won at both Long Beach and Texas in the past so hopefully we can welcome AAA to the team and the series with some victories in 2011."
The Auto Club's sponsorship of the Team Penske IndyCar program marks another milestone in the Club's long racing heritage. The Auto Club was one of the first organizations to sanction open-wheel automobile races in Southern California over a century ago, and AAA was the first organization to sanction the Indianapolis 500.
"We are pleased to extend our agreement with the Auto Club and build on our relationship," said Roger Penske. "The Auto Club and AAA have been longtime partners with Penske Truck Rental and they have been a terrific sponsor on our NASCAR teams. We look forward to adding to the relationship beginning next season with the No. 22 team and in the IZOD IndyCar Series."