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Nationwide shifting NASCAR sponsorship to Cup

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nationwide will end its seven-year run as entitlement sponsor of NASCAR’s second-largest series at the end of the 2014 season and refocus its motorsports spending to other areas of the industry.

NASCAR announced a new deal Wednesday to extend Nationwide’s contract as its official auto, home, life and business insurance partner through 2017.

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Nationwide will spend more on track sponsorships and in the Sprint Cup Series, where it recently funded the car of two-time Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at Bristol and Richmond. Nationwide has a three-race commitment with Stenhouse this season, and has agreed to sponsor four Sprint Cup races next year.

‘‘It’s a natural evolution for Nationwide Insurance to move our marketing investment to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and we’ll continue to put tremendous effort behind all of our NASCAR marketing platforms in the years to come,’’ said Nationwide chief marketing officer Matt Jauchius.

NASCAR will search for just the third sponsor since the its No. 2 series debuted in 1982. Anheuser-Busch sponsored the series through 2007.

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