In a historic shift for the sport, beginning in 2020 NASCAR’s premier series will be known as the NASCAR Cup Series and will feature four cornerstone brands as Premier Partners; Busch Beer, Coca-Cola®, GEICO and Xfinity.
In addition to the establishment of the Premier Partner positions, this significant shift will provide many strategic benefits to the industry, including greater activation opportunities for brands across the sport. NASCAR’s inaugural grouping of Premier Partners will play a key role in consumer marketing and fan development initiatives moving forward.
“This has been a monumental year for our sport, one highlighted by significant changes in our business model to ensure long-term viability and growth,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR President. “As we begin this new chapter, we are joined by four incredible brands with deep-rooted histories across all levels of our sport. We are honored to have this elite group represent our NASCAR Cup Series for years to come.”
The new model includes premium assets for each Premier Partner to engage the most brand-loyal fans in sports throughout the entire season. Premier Partners will collectively own a presence connected to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race and NASCAR All-Star Race. Additionally, all four partners will be prominently featured in multiple platforms across the sport, including integrations in broadcast, NASCAR digital and social channels, event entitlements, in-market promotions and at-track activations.
“This new model will provide our Premier Partners with a heightened level of integration and visibility across all aspects of our sport,” said Daryl Wolfe, NASCAR executive vice president and chief sales and operations officer. “Each of these partners have demonstrated their commitment to our brand-loyal fan base and we are excited about how these brands will elevate the NASCAR Cup Series.”
Busch Beer returned as a NASCAR Official Partner in 2018. The deal provided the beer brand exclusive sponsorship of the Busch Pole Award, a position it will continue to maintain throughout its Premier Partnership. Additionally, Busch Beer will sponsor a NASCAR Cup Series event in 2020.
Coca-Cola has been involved with stock car racing for 50 years and became a NASCAR Official Partner in 1998. As a Premier Partner, Coca-Cola will continue its sponsorship of both NASCAR Troops to the Track and NASCAR Salutes, the portion of the season focused on highlighting industry-wide appreciation of the U.S. Armed Forces. Coca-Cola will also continue to own race entitlements at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Coca-Cola becomes the presenting sponsor of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season championship trophy.
The agreement further enhances Coca-Cola’s position as the “Official Soft Drink of NASCAR.” A signature part of the brand’s marketing strategy is the Coca-Cola Racing Family – an exclusive group of top drivers representing Coca-Cola who are featured across company advertising, promotions and packaging.
GEICO’s involvement in NASCAR spans more than a decade and the company became the “Official Insurance Provider of NASCAR” earlier this year. As one of the most fully integrated brands in the sport, GEICO will enhance its existing assets through its Premier Partnership and become the presenting partner of a season phase.
Comcast’s Xfinity brand entered the sport with a landmark 10-year partner agreement in 2015, positioned as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the “Official Entertainment Partner of NASCAR.” As a Premier Partner, Xfinity will maintain its Xfinity Series sponsorship, central to its NASCAR strategy. Xfinity will also sponsor the Championship 4 elimination race of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Martinsville Speedway.
Throughout the past five years, Xfinity has elevated the series “Where Names Are Made,” supporting the introduction of an elimination-style Playoffs, reenergizing the Dash 4 Cash program, reimagining how champions are celebrated at Xfinity Champion’s Day at Universal Orlando Resort and has honored charitable efforts within the industry through its prestigious Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award platform. Xfinity continues to change the way fans access the sport through its Xfinity Stream app, Xfinity X1 video and Xfinity xFi internet.
Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels promoter Len Sammons has issued a Racers Challenge to the drivers and car owners who will compete in the four 2020 events: “Help us sell out the house and we’ll pay the feature winners in all classes double the purse!” Sammons, who along with sons Danny and Davey organize the events, expanded the challenge to increasing all other feature finishing positions 20% if the “Sold Out” sign is posted at the box office prior to the start of the feature events. “It can be done,” said Len Sammons. “We’ve done it once in our history and have come close several other times.
There is nothing better than the atmosphere inside a packed arena! The fans and racers feed off each other creating a buzz unlike anything else in racing. “We are 100% focused on growing the Indoor Series and making each event a spectator driven, can’t miss event,” said Sammons. “My staff has always encouraged the racers to interact with the fans and put on a show both in the car and outside of it. Racing comes first, but fan interaction and increasing fan involvement is also a high priority.
This incentive is the next step in that process. “The Concrete Series opens at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. on January 3rd and 4th. These events, sponsored by Ironton Telephone, include features for the TQ Midgets each night. Instead of $2,000 to win each, these events would pay $4,000 if every ticket is sold, something accomplished when the first event was held in the building four years ago.
Racing then moves to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Friday and Saturday January 31st and February 1st for the NAPA Know How Classic. Andy Jankowiak of Buffalo, N.Y. won $5,000 when he took the 2019 Gambler’s Classic. If he did it again and the place was sold out, he would earn $10,000. In the event’s 17 year history, tickets were nearly sold out on three occasions.
Next up is the third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals which will return to CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. with a new date. This event, held the last two years in December, has been moved to Friday and Saturday nights February 21st and 22nd to avoid a conflict with Christmas. Rated a ‘must see’ event by those who attended the first two years, it’s great racing and new date could make it a sell out with the extra push of the race teams. If so, the 600 Sprint winner would receive $10,000 rather than $5,000 received by Whitey Kidd, III and Erick Rudolph the last two years.
The “Concrete Series” season finale follows on Friday and Saturday March 13th and 14th in a second year return to the brand new Expo Center located on the grounds of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. N.Y. With features for the TQ Midgets each night, these features which traditionally pay $2,000 would jump to $4,000 with a sellout. At the first ever event held in Syracuse last year, Saturday’s attendance was 75% of the occupancy limit so again it’s very possible. The sell-out bonus plan will also be paid to the Slingshot and Champ Kart divisions that run as part of the Concrete Series.
The Indoor Auto Racing Series staff can provide its racers promotional materials to help promote the events in an attempt to sell tickets. This will include social media aids for Facebook and Twitter campaigns, event posters and handbills along with invitations to set up driver media interviews. “The idea is to work together so that we can build up the series interest to an all-time high. Every driver, car owner and crewman has friends who go to the races and other friends who used to go,” said Sammons.
“We need to encourage the fans to join the racers and take part in the campaign as well and the event promoters will continue its all-out promotional campaign as it has done in the past using television, radio, print, billboards and social media to help sell out the house at each venue.” Tickets, which make great Christmas gifts, can be obtained now through the information available on the series website: www.indoorautoracing. Racers who wish to participate in the “Sell Out The House” program are urged to send an e-mail to email@example.com along with name, address and phone number. Additional ticket promotion ideas are welcome.
Halmar Friesen Racing (HFR) officials have announced plans to chase the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship with driver Stewart Friesen.
The ‘20 season marks a new beginning for HFR and the No. 52.
HFR makes the move to Toyota with the support of Toyota Racing Development (TRD).
“We were all very impressed after spending time with Toyota,” Friesen said. “TRD has been welcoming to our organization. With their support, knowledge and technology, we hope to bring our team to another level.”
HFR has secured a new base of operations in Statesville, N.C. Trucks will be purchased through Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Tripp Bruce returns to the team as Crew Chief. Gene Nead has been signed as Competition Director.
“Through this transition, we’ve been able to retain several members of our team from last season,” Friesen said. “They’ve remained loyal to us and have new energy going into 2020.”
HFR principal Chris Larsen feels HFR has assembled a championship-caliber organization.
“The championship is our goal,” Larsen said. “Making it to the ‘Final Four’ was an accomplishment, but we’re all competitive. You want to be sitting at the head table at the series banquet. We’re working to be that team.”
Friesen, 36, enjoyed a career season on the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in ’19, placing fourth in points and earning the first two victories of his career: on the dirt at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway in August and the ISM Raceway (Phoenix) in November.
In 23 events, Friesen’s two victories were accompanied by 12 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.
The Canadian-born Friesen, who resides in Sprakers, N.Y., enters his fourth season of NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series competition.
….Pennsylvania’s Selinsgrove Speedway and the United States Auto Club (USAC) will present the Bill Holland Classic for the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in what promises to be a must-see event 74 years in the making!
The first-ever visit by the Silver Crown Champ Cars to the historic half-mile oval will feature the wingless warriors in a 74-lap race that will not only honor the memory of the late Hall-of-Fame driver Bill Holland but also commemorate the speedway’s 74th anniversary.
Holland, of Reading, Pa., won the first race at Selinsgrove Speedway on July 20, 1946, and went on to win the 1949 Indianapolis 500. Although Holland never won a race with USAC, his career was legendary in AAA competition, the predecessor to the formation of USAC in 1955. He died in 1984 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, and was inducted posthumously into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2005.
The elite Silver Crown Champ Car Series drivers will race for $8,000 to win and the inaugural Holland Classic trophy out of the $33,000 purse.
“A Silver Crown Champ Car race at Selinsgrove will be the perfect homage to one of auto racing’s most accomplished drivers,” said speedway general manager Steve Inch. “Several Silver Crown drivers visited the speedway last summer and noted the track’s size and sweeping turns will make it an ideal venue for a Champ Car event.”
Similarly, USAC series director Levi Jones, a two-time USAC Silver Crown champion driver himself, is honored to have the series makes its debut at the central Pennsylvania track.
“Pennsylvania is a hotbed of dirt track auto racing and it’s a thrill to bring USAC’s brand of racing to Selinsgrove Speedway,” Jones stated. “The Silver Crown series has a legendary legacy with many of the greatest names in the sport winning races and championships that continues to this day. It will be exciting for all of us to see the kind of show that the Silver Crown cars and the drivers will put on at Selinsgrove for the first time.”
With the pit area moved outside of the track in 2018, fans will have an unobstructed view of the wingless open wheelers on the “Superspeedway of Dirt Track Racing” Aug. 9.
In its storied history, USAC has sanctioned only one previous event at Selinsgrove, a wingless sprint car race won by Hall-of-Famer Mitch Smith of Linglestown, Pa., in 1971.
Additional details on this marquee event and supporting divisions will be released as they become finalized.
For additional information on Selinsgrove Speedway and the United States Auto Club, please visit www.selinsgrovespeedway.com and www.usacracing.com.
The wheels are in motion for rolling out the 2020 race schedule at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway and although there are a number of items still being worked out, one thing that is for certain in a new and exciting slate of races geared at honoring select accomplished greats while also paying rewarding dividends to the participants.
Being dubbed the “Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series” (MVSHoFS), this will be a special five race series held throughout the season and run amongst the Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.
The full soon to be released dates will see the Modifieds competing in extra-distance/higher dollar features with a very unique twist to the number of laps for each. They will all contest in a distance that was a signature car number to the particular honoree.
Race number one of five, which will be Opening Night, April 4, honors Doug Hoffman and his No. 60. Thus the feature will be 60 laps. Next will be a 77-lapper paying tribute to John ‘Peepers’ Yerger. That will be followed by an 81-lap affair which belongs to the revered George Wambold. The next feature will be 85 laps, the number made famous by Marvin Bartholomew and finally a 99-lapper that is associated with Hal Renniger, closes out the series on October 3.
“We’re very excited to bring the Hall of Fame Series to Mahoning Valley,” offered newly hired track promoter Keith Hoffman.
“We wanted to honor all these important drivers for their contributions to the track. Our loyal fans and drivers will now have the opportunity to compete in meaningful ‘specials’ throughout the season.”
Even though the Hall of Fame Series is geared towards Mahoning’s history, these special events are also intended to bring in some outside competitors that will only enhance the five-race series.
“I think with the point fund and good purse we’re offering, we’ll be able to pull some talented drivers from other tracks and states and showcase our product to everyone. Even though the off-season is just starting, I’m excited to say the least,” added Hoffman.
On those same nights the Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks will be taking part in the MVSHoFS and run regular distance features.
There will be a separate tally of points for each class and at the conclusion of the five events the top three will receive point fund monies. Drivers must compete in each of the five races in order to be eligible for the point fund money. There will be a nominal entry fee to run each of the specials.
And, while there will be separate points awarded, there is also 50-showup points as well that will be added towards that driver’s 2020 regular season standings amount.
Each class will draw for starting spots for both heats and features. Only feature points will count towards the MVSHoFS title of the respective divisions.
The point fund breakdown is as follows: $1500, $1000 and $500 to the top three in Modifieds. $1000, $600 and $400 for the Street Stocks and $500, $300 and $200 for the Hobby Stocks.
As an added incentive the Modifieds will be given the opportunity of a ‘gamblers fee.’ If a driver so chooses to take the gamble then he/she will win an additional $1000 for that feature. The gamblers fee is being sponsored by Gambler Transportation and Recovery of Whitehall.
More details on the MVSHoFS along with the complete schedule will be forthcoming.
Please log onto the official Mahoning Valley Speedway website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway for updated info. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443 just a few miles west of Lehighton.