Goodwrench Service Plus and Chevrolet decided to continue sponsoring a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, following the Feb. 18 death of driver Dale Earnhardt in the Daytona 500.
Goodwrench Service Plus, the factory-supported repair and service business at General Motors dealerships, sponsored Earnhardt. He was also a key spokesman for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo in ads featuring the animated Tazmanian Devil.
The sponsorship transition to driver Kevin Harvick was scheduled to take place Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Dura Lube/Kmart 400 in Rockingham, N.C.
Harvick had been driving the ACDelco Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Earnhardt drove for the Richard Childress Racing Enterprises Inc. team.
After Earnhardt died, GM stopped airing a motorsports TV commercial featuring his Monte Carlo. GM also pulled the two-month-old TV brand spot for the Chevrolet car line because it, too, features Earnhardt's car.
Much of Chevrolet's immediate motorsports advertising will use NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon's Monte Carlo instead, said a source at Chevrolet's advertising agency, Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Warren, Mich.
The spots are being edited to drop Earnhardt's car in favor of Gordon's car. The revised ads should be on the air in a couple of weeks.
'There's a concern that we'd be taking advantage of his memory if we left him in,' said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. GM also yanked radio spots that referred to 'The Intimidator,' Earnhardt's nickname, so Campbell-Ewald could clip that out.
The agency produces and airs a TV commercial every week that a Chevrolet driver wins a NASCAR race, so that's the only time the new driver and car will appear in a Chevrolet ad in the short term, the source said.
In memory of Earnhardt, GM ran a full-page ad in USA Today on Thursday, Feb. 22, the day of Earnhardt's funeral.
Earnhardt owned Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Inc. in Newton, N.C.