Busch Beer back as NASCAR Pole Award sponsor

On Wednesday NASCAR and Anheuser-Busch announced a renewal of an old partnership that will make older NASCAR fans connect with a newer generation in the sport. Busch Beer is now known as “The Official Beer of NASCAR” and Busch will once again be the sponsor of the “Busch Pole Award” in NASCAR’s top series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series beginning this weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California.

“We’re excited to be further integrated into the sport,” said Chelsea Phillips the vice president of value and beyond beer brands for Anheuser-Busch in a NASCAR press release. “We see a lot of value in NASCAR and the loyalty of the fans and want to continue to become integrated and locked in a way, we have the team and the tracks and now we can talk about the league through the pole (award).

“It just gives us one more touch point to be able to interact with the fans in a way that’s important to us. We have a lot of history in the sport and are excited to be coming back to the pole.”

Anheuser-Busch sponsored the pole award 40 years ago in 1978 and from 1988 until 1997 it was the sport’s official beer sponsor under its Busch Beer brand. Starting in 1998 Budweiser was NASCAR’s official beer sponsor which lasted through 2007.

“The Busch Pole Award is one of the most recognized programs in NASCAR and partnering with a global marketer like Anheuser-Busch will further elevate the value of the program and our sport,” said Lou Garate NASCAR’s vice president for partnership in a press release. “Anheuser-Busch has a storied history in NASCAR dating back to the 1970s and we know our fans will celebrate and support Busch’s return as the ‘Official Beer of NASCAR.’”

The last driver to win the pole award sponsored by Anheuser-Busch was seven-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson in 2007 at Homestead in the same weekend where Johnson won his second Cup Series title.

“To have the younger generation come in and help us carry that (brand recognition) along — as well as those who have the memories from the past — it’s another piece of the story but one that happens to have that heritage and hearkens back to those really good times,” Phillips said. “It’s just a perfect space to be able to engage in a two-way dialogue with fans. It’s something we’re passionate about as a brand and something they are passionate about as fans.”

This weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session for the Busch Pole Award will take place Friday at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.