Camping World president and CEO Marcus Lemonis, whose title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series runs through 2015, says he expects to make a decision on whether to extend his commitment by the end of this year.
In part, the decision depends on the participation of an as-yet-unnamed company featured on "The Profit," the CNBC show on which Lemonis serves as both venture capitalist and mentor in turning around small businesses that seek his help.
"Our deal goes through 2015--I think it was a six- or seven-year deal (actually seven)," Lemonis said Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during a press conference to promote the TV show. "But we are in talks, and one of the connections--it’s kind of ironic--but one of the tipping points (is) whether Camping World will extend that deal or not…
"In one of the episodes, there is an integration of NASCAR into one of the shows that you’ll see. And having one of these particular companies be part of our extension will be kind of the tipping point of whether we extend or not."
Lemonis also wants to reserve judgment until he sees whether the transition of SPEED to Fox Sports 1, a broader-based sports network, changes the level of visibility of the Camping World Truck Series.
"I think the France family and Steve Phelps and all the folks (NASCAR president) Mike Helton--have done a fantastic job of taking Camping World to the next level," Lemonis said. "When it comes to the Truck Series, I think the bigger question that I have right now is ‘What is the new SPEED/FoxSports network going to look like?’
"Is it going to change the viewership? Are the ratings going to change? Is it going to be shuffled around? Because today on SPEED, the Camping World Truck Series is THE program (the Saturday night Truck race at Iowa). I want to just be sure that I’m not going to get shuffled to the bottom of the pack."