Anheuser-Busch and Trackhouse Racing announced a multiyear agreement Tuesday that will make Busch Light, long one of the main sponsors for retiring NASCAR star Kevin Harvick, the primary sponsor for Ross Chastain in the Cup Series.
The deal, which begins in 2024, had been in the works for months, but an announcement was pushed back when Anheuser-Busch became embroiled in controversy for sending a commemorative Bud Light can to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Many conservatives and critics of the LGBTQ+ community boycotted Bud Light, which has since been supplanted by Modelo as America's best-selling beer, while some of Mulvaney's fans claimed the brand did not do enough to support her.
Busch Light, which is one of NASCAR's four premier partners, was silent on social media from April 3 until June 22, three days before Chastain won the Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. Trackhouse made it back-to-back wins the following week, when Shane van Gisbergen triumphed in his series debut on the street course in Chicago.
"Ross has already accomplished so much in his career and we're so proud an iconic brand like Busch Light sees his commitment not only to the sport but to his fans," Trackhouse founder Justin Marks said. "It's been Trackhouse's goal from Day 1 to build something special and different, something that resonates with the fans and partners in NASCAR. For Busch Light to recognize this and commit to the vision is both humbling and inspiring."
Busch Light has been a sponsor in NASCAR for 44 years, investing not only in race teams but also lending its name to the Busch Pole Award and the Busch Light Clash. The brand has sponsored the No. 4 car of Harvick since 2016.
"We've activated many different types of programs with our sponsorship through the years, and we're thrilled to team up with Trackhouse Racing and Ross Chastain," said Krystyn Stowe, the head of marketing for the Busch brand at Anheuser-Busch.
Chastain's aggressive style has made him popular among many fans -- his video-game move last season was swiftly banned by NASCAR -- and successful on the track, where he is already locked into the playoffs by virtue of his win at Nashville. But the way he wrecked Brennan Pool at Dover and squeezed Noah Gragson into a wall at Kansas -- leading to a dustup on pit road -- have made him plenty of enemies in the garage area.
After another wreck at Darlington that took Kyle Larson out of contention, Marks told SiriusXM's NASCAR Radio that he would take a more active role in ensuring that Chastain raced other drivers cleanly going forward.
"I love the kid and I love the opportunity he's giving every single person who works at Trackhouse to put a championship run together," Marks said, "but there's stuff that needs to be cleaned up and it's a process he's going to have to start going through."
Chastain, whose family farms watermelons in Florida, was involved in a wreck Sunday at Atlanta and finished 35th.