"We had a great year last year, but for 2010, we've undergone a strategy change," Jared Cluff, senior vice president of marketing said according to NASCAR. "We're working pretty heavily on the Web site right now, so our marketing this year will be toward the latter half of the year."
The departure of Ask.com will not only affect NASCAR, but the search engine itself. As the official search engine for the NASCAR.com website, the search engine saw increased usage from NASCAR fans.
"We saw double-digit increases in usage among NASCAR fans," Cluff added. "With the fan cards that our Ask Ambassadors passed out at the track, we saw a 27 percent conversion rate to the site, so fans were coming back from the track and going to the site. That's a remarkable stat."
The reason behind Ask.com's departure, not being severe, leaves room for the sponsorship agreement to be renewed in the second half of the year.
Separately, NASCAR renewed sponsorship deals with Dodge, Unilever, DuPont, DirecTV, Kraft, and Procter & Gamble brands Gillette, Old Spice and Prilosec OTC and added Screenvision and Drive4COPD.
"We're happy with a 75 percent renewal rate, especially given the economy,"Jim O'Connell, NASCAR vice president of corporate marketing said. "The important thing about the sponsors that renewed is that most of them are fully integrated into the sport with teams and drivers and they're activating nationally, which helps NASCAR reach new fans."