Morgan-McClure Motorsports has sued 360 OTC parent company Rockford-Montgomery Labs in federal court in Atlanta. The team claims that it signed a $10.1 million deal for the company to sponsor Morgan- McClure’s #4 car in 2007.
Because of the sponsorship, McClure planned on running two cars next season and had outlined a tentative agreement with driver Johnny Sauter, according to the lawsuit and the accompanying documents. The sponsorship deal was signed June 14, 2006, but 360 OTC announced on Aug. 25, 2006 that it would sponsor Bill Davis Racing’s #36 team and driver Jeremy Mayfield (pictured right).
In its complaint, Morgan-McClure claims the team was assured that Rockford-Montgomery Labs would still continue with its Morgan-McClure obligations in addition to the BDR commitments. With that knowledge, according to the suit, Morgan-McClure pursued a deal with Sauter, who was driving in the Busch Series for Haas CNC Racing last year. The deal was worth $450,000 in base salary plus 35% of all winnings and 33% of merchandise sales. Rockford-Montgomery Labs then told Morgan- McClure it would terminate the sponsorship agreement Nov. 1 citing poor 2006 performance, the lack of a driver and the lack of time to prepare promotional materials. The company has not paid Morgan-McClure any money, according to the complaint.
Because the sponsorship did not come through, Morgan-McClure could not commit to Sauter, who wound up staying at Haas CNC Racing and driving a second Nextel Cup car for the team this year. In its response, Rockford-Montgomery Labs denies most of the allegations. It also states that McClure sent an e-mail to the company in late October saying it had not been able to finalize a deal for Sauter. The sponsorship deal was for one year with three one-year options at the same $10.1 million per year. Team owner Larry McClure and Sauter declined comment. Representatives of Rockford-Montgomery Labs could not be reached for comment.