After seven years Nationwide is ending its sponsorship of NASCAR's No. 2 series, effective at the end of the 2014 season.
The company made the announcement Wednesday, but will not be exiting NASCAR completely and will actually increase its spending in the sports. As Nationwide will refocus its marketing efforts on the Sprint Cup Series, where it will become a team sponsor and remain NASCAR's official sponsor for auto, home, life and business insurance through 2017.
Nationwide already has an agreement with Roush Fenway Racing, which calls for the company to be primary sponsor for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in seven Cup races -- three this year and four next. Stenhouse is in his first full season in Cup after having won the Nationwide championship in 2011 and 2012.
Nationwide took over series sponsorship in 2008 from Anheuser-Busch, which had been the title sponsor from the series' inception in 1982, first through its Budweiser brand then Busch beer.
According to the Sports Business Journal, Nationwide was paying NASCAR approximately $8 million a year for series title rights and accompanying media promotion.