Can You Hear Me Now? Verizon Sponsors Penske Dodge Without Logos

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IFebruary 7, 2009

Do you ever wonder who the guy in the Verizon commercial is talking to when he asks: Can you hear me now?

Well, now it appears he may have been on the phone with Chad from the Alltel commercials, as Verizon announced late last month that they would be completing the purchase of the cell phone company.

Alltel was the primary sponsor of the No. 12 Penske Dodge driven by David Stremme, who hit the track on Friday with a Penske logo on the car, but the signature colors of Verizon.

It took a few tries and some minor changes, but NASCAR has approved the paint scheme and driver suit for Stremme to use.

The sanctioning body is responsible for ensuring that no other cell phone companies have their name on anything in the series (being as the title sponsor, Sprint, has full rights to the sport!)

The paint scheme (shown above) features a simple black coat with red stripes on the side and Penske's signature logo on the hood (with red instead of blue, albeit!)

The car also features a red slipper and red rims.

So while the hood may not say Verizon—the entire car is screaming it with the new paint scheme.

According to SceneDaily, the driver suit Stremme originally showed up to Speedweeks with was identical to the one Nationwide Series driver Justin Allgaier has (who is also sponsored by Verizon), with the exception of the Verizon logo and infamous check.

By the time the cars hit the track for practice, Stremme was seen in a different uniform. The new one featured more black and has since been approved by NASCAR.

Stremme's team will also feature red and black uniforms.

So how long will Verizon be willing to pay a couple million dollars to "sponsor" a car they aren't allowed to put their logos on?

Alltel had a sponsorship deal through 2010 with Penske, and representatives from the racing team have expressed that they have no reason to look for another sponsor until then (we assume that means Verizon is willing to pay the big bucks for this season and next).

While I'm excited to see Stremme back in the Cup Series, I fear this is a year he must do something. After struggling while at Chip Ganassi Racing and being let go, he took a one-year hiatus where he ran in the Nationwide Series for Rusty Wallace Inc.

He was brought back up to the Cup level when 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman opted to drive for friend and new team owner Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing.

We are just hours away from the kickoff of the 2009 season!