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 Columns & Editorials

August 9, 2000

The Sponsor

You have seen them on all the big names, Richard Petty STP, Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench, Rusty Wallace Miller Lite, the list goes on and on. These people spend millions of dollars on the men and their machines just so their product can be displayed in an arena of specialized people, Race Fans! Who among us can't say that when it came down to buying a box of laundry soap that we didn't choose the Tide over the Cheer due to the fact they are a sponsor of a race car? Yes, this sponsor thing does work for both parties, the company sells products and services, the race car driver gets to race!

Getting the sponsor is probably the easiest part, the hard part is keeping them. When a team gets a full time sponsor who helps foot the racing bill and keep the car on the track the team has to keep the image of the sponsor in good standing with the crowd, the officials, and the people they race with. Fights, on track negative displays, yelling, and just acting like a person possessed are not the way to gain business for the person who comes up with the check.

Part of what it takes to get to the big time in racing is know when to say when and walk away. Sure the big boys also show their emotions from time to time but it takes a lot to cause them to want actually take out their anger in more then mere words. When the calls on the track don't go your way or are obviously wrong then take it up with the officials, it is their job to make the calls but it is also their job to explain the call. Asking them while you are fired up is not the right time, ask when would be the right time to ask the questions you want answered. Also take time to ask other people what happened on the track, sometimes what is seen from the car on the track is not the big picture at all. Now if the officials won't explain then there is a problem, they need to know that they are the people who have taken the job of making sure the playing field is fair. If they wont explain then they only make themselves look bad.

Another thing that a lot of teams don't realize when they get that elusive big sponsor is that they are basically working for that sponsor. Their appearance and the way they handle themselves is what a good backer is looking for. They want every bang from their buck. And any good team who knows what its like to wonder where that next tire is coming from should learn this. Make every appearance that is humanly possible. Do everything you can in your community for your track and your sponsor. If you keep your name out in the community in positive ways you will gain fans at the race track, if you gain fans at the race track your sponsor and the race track gain more customers, then everybody is happy.

Then you win races and hopefully things will start happening for you. If you continue to get your name and your reputation out there and it is a good one, other companies and people will start to pay attention to you. It doesn't happen for everyone but the ones that it does will tell you if you race hard and clean and take what you do seriously then you will have a better chance then the guy with the chip on his shoulder every Saturday night.

Winning the race is the greatest feeling any team can experience, getting to and keeping up that feeling is hard and dedicated work, it just doesn't happen on it's own.
Anyone can try it, only a chosen few can really do it.........
Rick Anges

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