Shares of Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD) experienced a 0.71% increase in pre-market trading on Wednesday following the announcement of a major partnership. The company has entered into a multi-year agreement with Trackhouse Racing, a renowned racing team. This agreement will bring Busch Light, a long-time sponsor of NASCAR star Kevin Harvick, on board as the primary sponsor for Ross Chastain in the Cup Series. The deal is set to begin in 2024.
Bud Light Controversy
This deal has been in the works for several months but faced a delay due to controversy surrounding Anheuser-Busch. The company had sent a special Bud Light can to Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer. Some conservatives and critics of the LGBTQ+ community boycotted Bud Light, and the brand lost its position as the top-selling beer in America to Modelo. Mulvaney’s supporters also felt that the brand didn’t do enough to support her.
During the period of controversy, Busch Light, one of NASCAR’s premier partners, remained silent on social media from April 3 to June 22. However, Chastain’s recent successes on the track brought attention back to the brand. Chastain won the Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, followed by another victory by Shane van Gisbergen in his series debut on the street course in Chicago.
Justin Marks, the founder of Trackhouse Racing, expressed his pride in Busch Light’s recognition of Chastain’s dedication to the sport and his fans. He said, “It’s been Trackhouse’s goal from Day 1 to build something special and different, something that resonates with the fans and partners in NASCAR. For Busch Light to recognize this and commit to the vision is both humbling and inspiring.”
Busch Light has a long history of sponsorship in NASCAR, spanning 44 years. The brand not only sponsors race teams but is also associated with the Busch Pole Award and the Busch Light Clash. Since 2016, they have sponsored Harvick’s No. 4 car.
Krystyn Stowe, the head of marketing for the Busch brand at Anheuser-Busch, expressed excitement about partnering with Trackhouse Racing and Ross Chastain. Stowe mentioned that they have implemented various sponsorship programs over the years and are thrilled to collaborate with the racing team and driver.
Ross Chastain’s Controversial Moves and Achievements
Chastain, known for his aggressive racing style, has gained popularity among fans, although some of his moves have been controversial. NASCAR banned one of his video-game-inspired moves last season. On the track, Chastain has already secured a spot in the playoffs with his victory in Nashville. However, incidents like wrecking Brennan Pool at Dover and squeezing Noah Gragson into a wall at Kansas have made him enemies within the racing community.
Following a wreck at Darlington that affected Kyle Larson’s chances of winning, Marks stated on SiriusXM’s NASCAR Radio that he would take a more active role in ensuring Chastain races cleanly with other drivers in the future.
Marks expressed his support for Chastain and the opportunity he provides for everyone at Trackhouse to pursue a championship run. However, he acknowledged that there are areas that need improvement and that Chastain will have to go through a process to address them.
Chastain, whose family farms watermelons in Florida, recently finished 35th in a race at Atlanta after being involved in a wreck.