Late Wednesday evening, BK Racing announced that SunFrog, an apparel printing company, would hop on board with Gray Gaulding in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), beginning this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
SunFrog was currently in a partnership in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Brandon Brown and Brandonbilt Motorsports. This sponsorship began this season at Daytona International Speedway with SunFrog having the option to sponsor more races, if they so choose.
The announcement was a shot to the heart for Brandon Brown and Tommy Joe Martins, who is involved with Brandonbilt Motorsports through a partnership announced over the offseason with Martins Motorsports. Both drivers went to social media to express their frustrations with the announcement.
Oh for crying out loud https://t.co/Eb5xDXaADw— Tommy Joe Martins (@TommyJoeMartins) March 16, 2017
Who needs to find sponsorship when you can just walk through the garage and steal it from other people ?— Tommy Joe Martins (@TommyJoeMartins) March 16, 2017
Leave driving out of it. We all drive for small teams.— Tommy Joe Martins (@TommyJoeMartins) March 16, 2017
It's SLEAZY business. This industry is hard enough w/o this type of garbage behavior https://t.co/YVqCwAR3mx
Speedway Digest (SD) reached out to Martins, but was declined comment due to the concerns already expressed on Twitter.
Brown exclusively told Speedway Digest that there was no indication to him that SunFrog would be jumping over to Gaulding. "This means a limited schedule and a lot of hard work to find some more funding and partners, but I'm really bummed out they left a team that they could have built a long lasting relationship and we could have built on each others success both on and off the track," said Brown to SD. "For me I really look to my partners as people to help grow as they help me both on and off the track, allowing us to make progress at an accelerated pace. But I do hope they find success with gray. I just wish I had family funding to put me at the level he is to try and gain partners but I'm very blessed with what I have to work with and I will always be thankful for my opportunities, I just really want to make the most of every single chance because in this sport there's always a chance it could be the last"
Speedway Digest also reached out to BK Racing for comment about the frustration on Twitter, but was declined comment.
Brandonbilt Motorsports continue their search for more sponsorship following the announcement.
We have lost one of our partners for 2017, so that means more opportunities for YOUR company to be on our car!— Brandonbilt Mtrsprts (@BiltMotorsports) March 16, 2017
Contact for opportunities‼️
Finding a sponsor is hard to come by for many drivers in the top ranks of NASCAR.
It's the ones that get up after falling that find success. In a cut throat sport you can't get hung up on single events— Brandon Brown (@BrandonBrownRac) March 16, 2017
However, it is the grind many drivers have to face when it comes to racing.
Through social media, Martins Motorsports and Brandonbilt Motorsports have announced a partnership for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.
The announcement came as both teams are searching to break even in NASCAR.
Brandon Brown will drive the No. 44 Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway, as well as select races throughout the 2017 season. Tommy Joe Martins will also race at Daytona, but according to the release, will be announced at a later date.
“It just makes a lot of sense for everyone involved,” said Craig Martins. "I got to know (BM owner) Jerry Brown pretty well last year, and talked about partnering up for this season. It’s a couple of small teams working together."
This deal was brokered as both teams continue in their efforts to find proper sponsorship for 2017 and beyond.
Martins finished 23rd in points in 2016. He completed in 20 races. He led seven laps throughout the season.
Brown competed in 13 of 23 races in 2016. He had one top-five in last year’s NexEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona, where he finished fourth.
The full release can be found here: