Delaware-based company ends major visual presence in NASCAR

The DuPont oval logo will be gone from the hood of Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet this NASCAR season, ending one of the longest running sponsorships in the sport’s history.

DuPont’s paint business has been sold and re-branded as Axalta Coating Systems.  It will be the Axalta brand name that will be featured before millions of eyes watching NASCAR Sprint Cup races from February through November.  The Carlyle Group bought the paint business from DuPont, adding it to a lengthy portfolio of businesses in its roster including Hertz Rental Car and Dunkin’ Donuts.

In a statement released by Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon said, “We have a new name on the No. 24 Chevrolet SS in 2013, but it’s the same core group that I’ve enjoyed working with for more than 20 years.”  

DuPont’s deal with Gordon started in the final race of the 1992 season.  Since then, the DuPont name was front and center on Gordon’s car and uniform for four Cup Championships and 87 trips to victory lane.  “We’ve had success together on and off the track,” Gordon said of the more than 250,000 customers they’ve entertained at track-side hospitality events.  “We plan to carry that success into our third decade.”

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DuPont’s sponsorship of one of NASCAR’s most popular and successful drivers of the past two decades led to natural tie-ins for events with employees at the company’s Wilmington headquarters, especially when the NASCAR circuit made it’s two stops each year at nearby Dover International Speedway.  Over the years, Gordon hosted major public events in Rodney Square in downtown Wilmington, often demonstrating some DuPont product ranging from protective glass to a safe-driver simulator.  Those events have become few and far between in recent years.  

DuPont’s profile on the car has also been declining over the past few seasons, as Gordon picked up a part-time sponsorship agreement with AARP’s Drive to End Hunger campaign.  According to Hendrick Motorsports, the Axalta brand will be the car’s primary sponsor for 14 races in the 2013 season, starting with the April race at Texas Motor Speedway. 

In addition to ending its high profile presence in NASCAR, the DuPont brand name was also recently replaced on the Wilmington skyline.  For years, the familiar oval logo could be seen atop the Brandywine Building from I-95 as drivers passed Wilmington.  After being taken down a few years ago, a new sign for CitiBank went up in its place last year.

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