MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet will share the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
The team announced a 28-race sponsorship from Great Clips Inc. Wednesday morning, adding Kahne and Sweet to the team’s driving lineup that already includes Regan Smith and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
This will mark the 13th year Great Clips has used the Nationwide Series to market its brand, making it the series’ longest-running sponsor.
Kahne has a long-standing relationship with Great Clips dating back to 2003 when the company served as primary sponsor for the up-and-coming driver for three seasons. The company also recently announced a sponsorship of Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports for three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2013.
The addition of Great Clips further establishes the JR Motorsports line-up for 2013, albeit with substantial changes from two months ago. First, it guarantees the company will field at least two entries in 28 of 33 Nationwide Series events. Smith is already committed to driving a full schedule, and Earnhardt Jr. will compete in select races in a third car.
Additionally, car numbers have been reassigned to align with Kahne’s branding in the Sprint Cup Series. Kahne and Sweet will split time in the No. 5 Chevrolet for 27 races. Smith will compete for a championship in the No. 7, and Earnhardt Jr. will carry his familiar No. 88 in a limited schedule that presently stands at four races. One of Earnhardt’s races will be with Great Clips branding to fill out the 28-race sponsorship package.
JR Motorsports General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said the organization still isn’t committing the No. 5 team to a full-season slate but continues to work at securing sponsorship to fill out the remaining six races.
“The last three months have been critical for the direction of JR Motorsports and the commitment we’ve made, and this partnership with Great Clips is a major step in the right direction,” Earnhardt Miller said. “To sign a 28-race sponsor while adding Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet to our line-up is quite extraordinary. Our goal is still to run two full-time teams, and this helps us greatly to achieve that.”