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Hendrick Motorsports has dropped sponsor Hooters because restaurant chain could not pay team

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hendrick Motorsports has dropped longtime sponsor Hooters, saying the restaurant chain known for chicken wings and skimpy wait-staff outfits could not meet its financial commitment to the NASCAR team.

Hooters had sponsored the No. 9 car driven by NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott since 2017.

Hendrick Motorsports thanked Hooters for it contributions since coming on board “to our shared successes both on and of the track.” But it said the chain could not pay its bills.

“Due to these unfortunate and unexpected circumstances, and despite extensive efforts on both sides to identify a workable solution, it became necessary for Hendrick Motorsports to end the relationship,” the team’s statement said.

Hooters has recently closed more than 40 locations around the country, according to multiple reports. Messages left for Hooters public relations firm Cookerly PR by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

“Like many restaurants under pressure from current market conditions, Hooters has made the difficult decision to close a select number of underperforming stores,” the company said, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Hooters broke into NASCAR in the early 1990s, its logo on the car of late NASCAR series champion Alan Kulwicki. It enjoyed similar success with Elliott, who took the drivers’ title in 2020.

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This story has been updated to correct the formal team name.

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AP NASCAR: https://apnews.com/hub/nascar-racing

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