updated 10/3/2007 4:41:56 PM ET 2007-10-03T20:41:56

Nationwide Insurance has signed a seven-year deal to become the title sponsor of NASCAR's No. 2 series beginning in 2008.

Nationwide replaces Anheuser-Busch, which has sponsored the second-tier Busch Series for 26 seasons.

The series will be called the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

NASCAR chairman Brian France, who made the announcement Wednesday, said the decision to go with Nationwide came after "a very thorough process of trying to find the right partner, adding up what we think is important for the series and all the things that you would expect us to be thinking about. We know this is going to propel the series even further."

Neither France nor Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer James Lyski would reveal the numbers involved in the agreement, but it is believed to be between $10 and $12 million a year, similar to the amount that was being paid by Anheuser-Busch.

But Lyski said the company will not hesitate to spend money to back its sponsorship.

"We plan to put a lot of resources into supporting this sponsorship and advancing the profile of the NASCAR Nationwide Series," he said.

The search for a new sponsor to replace A-B took nearly 10 months. A deal with Subway appeared to be imminent in August, but never materialized.

That opened the door for Nationwide, which presented an offer late last week. Subway also re-entered the picture, but NASCAR moved ahead on the offer by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. of Columbus, Ohio.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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