hhgregg dipped its toe in the waters of INDYCAR sponsorship by backing Andretti Autosport and driver Marco Andretti at Barber Motorsports Park in April.
The electronics and appliances retailer enjoyed the experience so much, it will be back for more in 2017.
Andretti Autosport officials announced Tuesday that hhgregg will serve as the lead, co-primary sponsor of Marco Andretti’s No. 27 Honda in 2017, including at the 101st Indianapolis 500 next May as part of a multi-year partnership between the two Indianapolis-based companies.
“It’s absolutely huge that a company like hhgregg wants to be involved with us,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “We started this in a small way (earlier this) year and we hit it off in a big way. We really felt we could grow this program and here we are. Not only is this big for our team, but it’s big for INDYCAR to see a company like them invest in the sport.”
hhgregg has stores in 20 states, including in nearly half the markets where the Verizon IndyCar Series has races in 2016 - a point made by hhgregg CEO Bob Riesbeck, who added the retailer plans to activate the partnership around its stores and Fine Line specialty brand in race markets.
“Our relationship with Andretti Autosport and Marco has been incredibly successful for both sides,” said Riesbeck, whose company will serve as a team-wide sponsor across all Andretti Autosport INDYCAR entries in 2017 but insisted on Marco Andretti as its lead driver.
“As hhgregg continues to strive to deliver best-in-class product offerings, prices and customer service, we’re thrilled to be so closely connected with a brand that stands for excellence in its field as well. We’ve had a great experience with Marco and the team and are excited to be building a future together.”
The announcement also means that Marco Andretti, the third-generation driver from one of racing’s most storied families, will return to his father’s team under a new contract that runs for what Michael Andretti said was for “at least a couple of years, anyways.”
“It’s special after having not such a great year,” said Marco Andretti, 17th in the point standings and officially eliminated from championship contention following Monday's race at Pocono Raceway. “To have their support means a lot and shows hhgregg believes in what I’m capable of. I think there’s an Indy 500 in the cards as the primary. (Current sponsor) Snapple deserved more from me, but we’re going to keep working hard and hopefully bring them a lot more awareness.”