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{Nascar}Walmart continues discussions to sponsor Gordon


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Walmart's potential move into NASCAR has led the retail giant deep into negotiations with Hendrick Motorsports over sponsorship of Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet next season.

There continue to be several moving parts to the Walmart discussions with Hendrick and NASCAR, which began in the spring and have progressed through the summer. Walmart's play could have tentacles in sponsorship and licensing at the team and league level, according to industry sources.

The retailer has been hesitant to spend money on sports sponsorships in the past, so Walmart's entrance to NASCAR would provide a huge boost to a sport that has been ravaged by the recession and attracted little new sponsorship money in the past two seasons.

"It's very significant," said Mark Dyer, senior vice president at IMG and formerly chief of the licensing division at NASCAR until 2007. "We tried for years to get Walmart's attention when I was at NASCAR and we made some inroads. If they truly decide to take a position in the sport, that's a big deal to get a company that should have been in that space all along."

While Walmart ponders a new place in NASCAR, other consumer packaged goods sponsors are clearly energized and they're not waiting for contracts to be signed before mobilizing.

Sources say six of NASCAR's official consumer packaged goods partners met earlier this month to discuss a retail strategy for Walmart. Those sponsors were Coca-Cola, Kraft, Mars, MillerCoors, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

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This would be awesome for nascar!

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