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Jeff Gordon To Drive for a Cause in 2011

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2010

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 02: Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 on October 2, 2010 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

Marketing dollars are tight for NASCAR teams, forcing a new trend of driving for a cause in exchange for sponsorship.

Jeff Gordon's car is to be sponsored in 2011 by an anti-hunger campaign for struggling seniors, coordinated by AARP and the AARP Foundation.

It is reported paperwork was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Hendrick Motorsports for two slogans: "Drive For Hunger" and "Drive 4 Hunger."

Gordon's new sponsor will be the first of it's kind in NASCAR.  Lack of funding for sponsorship has forced mergers in NASCAR and caused teams to fold up.

At Hendrick Motorsports, the No. 24 team has been affected as well with Dupont cutting back on their sponsorship dollars.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Dupont and PepsiCo are expected to cover races that the AARP Foundation does not. Dupont has the longest running sponsorship deal with a driver.  Their relationship with Jeff Gordon began in 1992 with their logo on the No. 24 Chevy.

Other non-profit groups have been displayed by various NASCAR teams such as Autism Speaks.  Danica Patrick became the spokesperson for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  A NASCAR Nationwide race was sponsored by the DRIVE4 COPD cause this past February in Daytona.

According to the AARP website, this year six million older Americans will go hungry.  AARP and the AARP Foundation announced a multi-million dollar effort to help end hunger with needy seniors in this country.

Hendrick Motorsports will make an official announcement October 27.  It remains to be seen if Gordon will take on the role as a spokesperson or ambassador for the cause like Patrick has for COPD.

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