Anheuser-Busch made the decision to change the branding on the #4 Chevrolet of the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion from Budweiser to Busch beginning in the 2016 season. Stewart-Haas Racing confirmed the announcement Monday. Anheuser-Busch is the primary car sponsor for 20 of the 38 races for Harvick.
Busch/Budweiser has adorned the hood of a Sprint Cup car dating back to 1983, with several notable drivers, and has most recently been the primary sponsor of Harvick dating back to 2011. The Busch brand dates back 1984 in what is now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series where it was the primary series sponsor until the end of the 2007 season.
Lucas Herscovici, the vice president of consumer connections at Anheuser-Busch, released the following statement:
“NASCAR continues to be a priority platform for our beer portfolio. We are committed to the sport of racing, the fans and the Stewart Haas Racing team we support- specifically the No. 4 car of Kevin Harvick. To that point, and given we evaluate all of our sports properties on an annual basis, we will be shifting our brand equity in Harvick’s car and team from Budweiser to our Busch beer portfolio for the 2016 NASCAR season. The Busch brand is well positioned for this partnership given the brand’s storied history with the sport. We have a lot of exciting plans in development with SHR for 2016 and will share those details once finalized.”
Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser brand has been a NASCAR team sponsor since 1983 beginning with Terry Labonte driving the #44 car, Darrell Waltrip would next drive the #11 from 1984-1986 along with teammate Neil Bonnet who was sponsored by Budweiser in the #12 from 1984-1985 before Labonte would return with the Budweiser sponsor in ’87-89 with the #11 car.
Budweiser would next sponsor Geoff Bodine in the #11 for the ’90 and ’91 seasons, followed by Bill Elliott in ’92-’94 in the #11, Kenny Schrader in the #25 car for ’95 and ’96, and Ricky Craven in the #25 in ’97, where Jack Sprague and Todd Bodine each took the helm when Craven was injured. Craven would return in ’98 with the #25 and next with #50 with Budweiser as the primary.
In 1999 Wally Dallenbach and Randy Lajoie both drove the #50 Budweiser car and Dale Earnhardt Jr. began his tenure with 5 races in ’99 with the #8 followed by 2000-2007 as primary sponsor. Kasey Kahne in the #9 for 2008-2009 and finally Harvick in both the #29 and #4 cars beginning in 2011.
Sport Business Journal first reported the change Monday, to which SB Nation confirmed with Stewart-Haas Racing.