Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hellmann’s have a long history together, one dating back to 2009 and one that will continue in 2020, JR Motorsports confirmed today. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver and owner of JRM will add another chapter to the partnership when the 43-year-old star will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 21) in the No. 8 Hellmann’s Chevrolet.
The confirmation comes as part of an extension between parent company Unilever and JRM that carries the partnership into a 12th season, distinguishing Unilever as JRM’s longest-tenured partner and one of the longest-running active sponsors in the NXS. For 2020, JRM will also carry Unilever sponsorship in five races with its No. 7 team and driver Justin Allgaier.
“In our sport, partnerships are everything,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, JRM general manager. “We don’t throw the words ‘cornerstone partner’ around a lot, but when we do, Unilever exemplifies its meaning.”
The history between Unilever and JRM began in 2009, when Earnhardt Jr. raced a Hellmann’s-sponsored Chevrolet in the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. finished seventh that day, but it was the first of more than 110 races in which Unilever’s huge collection of brands would grace the hood and quarterpanels of JRM’s racing cars.
A number of current or former Unilever brands have been aboard a JRM machine since 2009, and three of them—Hellmann’s, Ragu and Dove Men+Care—have gone to Victory Lane with the team. Regan Smith won at Daytona in February 2014 driving a Ragu-backed Camaro, while Kasey Kahne nailed down the sweep at Daytona in July with Hellmann’s and Justin Allgaier claimed a thrilling win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018. Perhaps the most celebrated Unilever/JRM triumph came in 2016, when Earnhardt Jr. dominated the fall race at Richmond Raceway in a Hellmann’s Camaro. That victory truly exemplified the nature of the partnership between JRM, Earnhardt Jr. and Hellmann’s, as it was the well-known “Banana-Mayo Sandwich” race, which leveraged Earnhardt Jr.’s affinity for Hellmann’s and sliced banana on white bread into more than $153,000 for Blessings in a Backpack, a leader in the movement to end childhood hunger by making sure as many at-risk children as possible do not go hungry over the weekends while away from school.
That’s what partnerships, like the one between Unilever and JR Motorsports, have done and will continue to do as the company moves toward its goal of making sustainable living commonplace.