Anheuser-Busch’s involvement in NASCAR spans more than four decades and includes a number of relationships across the sport. The company’s partnership with Daytona International Speedway dates back more than 35 years to the brewer’s sponsorship of the 1979 Busch Clash. Anheuser-Busch’s support of the season-opening, non-points race, which came to be known as the Budweiser Shootout, ended in 2012. The following year Budweiser increased the company’s presence in NASCAR’s season-opening festivities at Daytona International Speedway as the beer brand became the official title sponsor of Budweiser Speedweeks – the 10-day stretch of stock-car races from the Sprint Unlimited to the Daytona 500®. Budweiser also sponsors the Budweiser Duel at Daytona, twin 150-mile qualifying races that determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500. In 2014, the Budweiser Duel at Daytona races are scheduled to be held under the lights for the first time.
Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of what became known as the NASCAR Busch Series started in 1982 and continued through 2007. The company’s iconic Budweiser brand was the official beer of NASCAR from 1998 through 2007. In addition, Budweiser has served as an event sponsor at a number of tracks throughout the years and continues to maintain relationships with tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit today.
On top of the track and series partnerships, the King of Beers has been a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series primary sponsor for 31 years. In 2014 Kevin Harvick will drive the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS for team owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas at Stewart-Haas Racing.
In 1983 Budweiser partnered with Billy Hagan’s Stratagraph Racing and driver Terry Labonte to field the No. 44 Budweiser Chevrolet team led by crew chief Dale Inman, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Labonte drove the Budweiser Chevrolet to Victory Lane for the first time on October 30 at North Carolina Speedway.
The following season Budweiser moved to Junior Johnson & Associates, owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, to field two entries – the No. 11 Budweiser Chevrolet with driver Darrell Waltrip and the No. 12 Budweiser Chevrolet with driver Neil Bonnett. Waltrip, also a NASCAR Hall of Famer, scored Budweiser’s first NASCAR championship in 1985 on the strength of three wins. Waltrip and Bonnett competed under the Budweiser Racing banner for three years, scoring a total of 16 wins.
Junior Johnson & Associates fielded one Budweiser-sponsored entry from 1987 until 1994 with three different drivers: Labonte (1987-89), Geoffrey Bodine (1990-91) and Bill Elliott (1992-94).
In 1995, Budweiser partnered with Hendrick Motorsports to field the No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet with driver Ken Schrader. He drove the Budweiser car until Ricky Craven took over the ride in 1997. In 1998, Hendrick switched the car number to No. 50 in honor of NASCAR’s 50th anniversary. Randy LaJoie and Wally Dallenbach filled in for Craven as he dealt with post-concussion syndrome during the first half of the year, and in mid-August, Dallenbach was named the driver of the Budweiser Chevrolet. The following season the team went back to the No. 25 and Dallenbach completed the season in the car.
It was announced during the 1998 season that through a partnership with Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) Budweiser would become the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr., running five races in 1999 in preparation for a full campaign as a rookie of the year contender in 2000. Budweiser’s partnership with DEI lasted eight seasons, during which Earnhardt Jr. scored 17 wins, including the 2004 Daytona 500.
Budweiser moved to Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2008 with driver Kasey Kahne at the wheel of the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge. The team name changed to Richard Petty Motorsports before the start of the following season due to changes in ownership. Kahne scored four wins during the three years he drove the Budweiser car.
The brewer partnered with Richard Childress Racing to field the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet with driver Kevin Harvick from 2011 through the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. During the three-year stretch, Harvick earned nine wins.
In July 2013, Budweiser announced that the King of Beers would move to Stewart-Haas Racing to sponsor Harvick in the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS starting with the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
As Budweiser Racing enters its 32nd year as a team sponsor at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level, the program has earned one championship, 61 race wins, 44 pole awards, 292 top fives and 507 top-10 finishes.