DENVER - Citing a need to concentrate on "core business," Centrix Financial, LLC, the struggling subprime auto lender, has canceled its title sponsorship of the Denver Grand Prix only weeks before the worldwide event takes place.
In a statement issued late last week, Centrix said it needed to concentrate on a "refocus of resources" and as a consequence was pulling out as a sponsor of a racing event it has supported for three years.
Officials of the sponsoring committee were scrambling last week to find a new title sponsor to replace the lost revenue, but insisted the race, slated Aug.11-13 on downtown Denver streets would go on as planned.
Centennial-based Centrix has been the event's title sponsor since 2003 with Sutton International Motorsports, a company founded by Centrix chief executive Robert Sutton, actually buying the Grand Prix event in 2004, it was reported.
In the Centrix statement, Sutton said it was "proud to have been a sponsor" of the event and that it was "pleased that Champ Car has worked with us to ensure" the race goes on as scheduled.
Centrix, at the time it announced more layoffs a few weeks ago, suggested that it might have to alter its sponsoring deal because of its continuing financial difficulties related to the NCUA crackdown a year ago on subprime lending.
Centrix had announced in June it would be laying-off 250 employees, or a third of its current work force as it undergoes "a difficult time."
Centrix also said it was looking for "potential partners or capital infusion" to help restore its financial health. Centrix had said the NCUA subprime alert had hurt the firm severely and the agency had not altered its regulatory stance in a major way since then.
Grand Prix officials declined to spell out how much revenue might be lost from the Centrix pullout. A spokesman said, however, that the Grand Prix is always concerned about the health of its sponsors. -firstname.lastname@example.org