Hooters hit NASCAR Champion Chase Elliott with some bad news he never saw coming

Photo by Todd Ellis from PublicDomainPictures.net

Chase Elliott is far and away the most popular driver in NASCAR.

But the 2020 Cup Series Champion’s season just took an unexpected turn. 

And Hooters hit NASCAR Champion Chase Elliott with some bad news that he never saw coming.

Hooters is no longer sponsoring Chase Elliott

Hooters restaurant has been a secondary sponsor for NASCAR Champion Chase Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports team since the 2017 season.

But the relationship between Elliott and the chicken wing chain just came to a shocking end.

Hendrick Motorsports released a statement revealing that it was forced to end the sponsorship agreement with Hooters due to its inability to “meet its business obligations to our organization.”

“Hooters has been a valued partner of Hendrick Motorsports since 2017, contributing to our shared successes both on and off the track,” the 14-time Cup Series Championship-winning team wrote in its statement. “In recent months, however, Hooters has not been able to meet its business obligations to our organization. Due to these unfortunate and unexpected circumstances, and despite extensive efforts on both sides to identify a workable solution, it became necessary for Hendrick Motorsports to end the relationship. It has been a privilege having Hooters as a part of our team and we wish them the best.”

Hooters was supposed to be the sponsor for Elliott’s Chevrolet for one more race this season at Richmond.

Elliott got Hooters its first win since the late, great Alan Kulwicki in 1992 with his win at the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year.

The Cup Series Champion spoke about his relationship with Hooters after his win at Texas, where he paid homage to Kulwicki by doing his patented “Polish victory lap,” in which the winning driver simply drives around the track in reverse in celebration.

“Hooters has been a great partner of ours for a number of years now,” Elliott said. “And it’s been a dream to pay respect to Alan Kulwicki. And do a ‘Polish victory lap’ in the Hooters colors. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and have just not had the opportunity to do that. Came close a few times.”

Kulwicki won the 1992 Winston Cup Series Championship by the narrowest margin in NASCAR history at that point in time but passed away in a 1993 plane crash.

Hooters’ struggles continue

The announcement that Elliot’s partnership came to an end was less than a week after Hooters announced that it was closing 44 restaurants around the country.

“Like many restaurants under pressure from current market conditions, Hooters has made the difficult decision to close a select number of underperforming stores,” Hooters said in a statement.

The casual restaurant industry has been battered by inflation and more customers eating at home.

Red Lobster filed for bankruptcy, and Applebee’s, Chili’s, and TGI Friday’s all closed locations. 

And Hooters has faced pressure from competitors like Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks. 

Hooters launched a virtual restaurant, Chase Elliott’s Chicken Tenders, on third-party delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats that used Hooters kitchens in 2022.

There’s no word if that brand will survive after its departure from NASCAR. 

Hooters is looking to get things back on track after losing its marquee marketing promotion.