Best Buy Co. said Tuesday it's shifting its NASCAR sponsorship next year to Roush Fenway Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, dealing a blow to the team of Richard Petty Motorsports.
The electronics retailer said it would be the primary sponsor of Kenseth's No. 17 Ford for nine of the 36 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and the main sponsor of Edwards' No. 99 Ford for two races. Best Buy also will be an associated sponsor for each in other races.
"NASCAR continues to be a relevant way for us to connect with our customers," Best Buy said in a statement.
Best Buy had been a major sponsor of Petty's A.J. Allmendinger, who drives the car with the legendary No. 43 once used by Petty himself.
"Although it is very disappointing that Best Buy is changing directions at this late date, we wish all of our friends there the best in their future endeavors," Petty said in a statement.
Petty also said "our plan has always been to run a two-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 and we are continuing down that path. We will move forward and explore all of our options in regard to the No. 43 program in the coming weeks."
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: A.J. Allmendinger driving the Best Buy Ford in practice at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Oct. 21. Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images