This page is for some news and links about motorsports management and marketing firms the deal wuth sponsorship, driver and team services, mainly the NASCAR Sprint Cup industry.
Humpy Wheeler Q&A.....says NASCAR has 'too many pretty boys': For 35 years, Humpy Wheeler was racing's best salesman and track operator. He was a creative and fearless risk taker, willing to stick his head in a tiger's mouth to publicize races at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He and track owner Bruton Smith made each other fabulously wealthy before Wheeler abruptly “retired” after a serious argument with Smith in 2008. Even though his Speedway Benefits company now works exclusively with short tracks around the country that hold weekly races, Wheeler still keeps a close eye on NASCAR. See full Q&A at AutoWeek.(6-11-2014)
Humpy Wheeler enters Great Race with grandson, Hudson: Former CMS president and GM H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler has always had an affinity for the Great Race, so when he began exploring activities he could do with his grandchildren it seemed like the perfect event for the Wheeler and his 16-year-old grandson. “I’ve always wanted to run in it,” Wheeler said about the annual event that began in 1983 as a rally for pre-World War II vehicles. “I was thinking I needed to do something with my grandkids, so this was a perfect opportunity. One of my grandkids, Austin Hardy, is out of (Providence Day) school then. He’s a superb mathematician. I put him through a couple of tests and he did great. So he’s going to be my co-pilot/navigator.” Scheduled for June 21-29, the event for cars from 1972 and older begins in Ogunquit, Maine, and ends in The Villages, Fla. The seven-day journey will take the vintage cars through New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Rudy Zeck, who worked with Wheeler at 600 Racing, will travel in the support vehicle and handle any mechanical needs Wheeler’s car might encounter. “I have been working on this Hudson Coupe for about three years,” Wheeler said. “It got finished about three weeks ago.” Wheeler is turning the Hudson into a replica of the one in the Pixar movie “Cars.” That character – Doc Hudson – was voiced by Paul Newman. Wheeler also appeared in the movie as the voice of Tex Dinoco, a 1975 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.(in part from Lake Norman News)(5-26-2014)
Kymberly Brantigan forms Finish First Marketing woman-owned motorsports marketing agency: Longtime motorsports agency executive Kymberly Brantigan today announced the formation of Finish First Marketing, a designed to meet the 21st century needs of clients. Finish First Marketing began operation in the fall of 2013 with the crafting and execution of the national media launch for Humpy Wheeler's Speedway Benefits in October, and 2014 marks Brantigan's 20th anniversary representing Axalta Coating Systems, formerly DuPont Performance Coatings.
Brantigan recently sold her interest in the agency that was best known for managing public relations and hospitality for DuPont and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. After nearly 20 years with an agency that focused almost exclusively on public relations and hospitality, Brantigan formed Finish First Marketing as a forward-thinking business that works closely with clients to create and activate comprehensive marketing strategy and business-to-business programs that provide measurable return on their sponsorship investment.
"Although the basic components of exposure, public relations, customer entertainment and branding are important elements of any sports sponsorship, agencies have to be much more creative for their clients to break through the clutter," said Brantigan. "In this day and age, if sponsors are not employing comprehensive and unique marketing strategy, coupled with business-to-businesses programs, they are not maximizing their sponsorships. Measurable return on investment and return on experience are key. Embracing technology and keeping up with social media and trends among key demographics is so important, and we're so excited to be sharing our creativity, and our execution expertise with our clients in 2014 and beyond."
Finish First Marketing is a LynkEdge, Inc. company as is The Charlotte Destination Group (CDG), a full service meeting, event and destination management company founded in 1997 also led by Brantigan. "The Charlotte Destination Group is really Finish First Marketing's sister company," said Brantigan. "Our accomplishments include being the only destination management company to win two contracts for the democratic national convention in Charlotte in 2012, and we are Visit Charlotte Partner-of-the-Year award recipients And this year, we're proud to announce that we are the preferred event management company of the Charlotte Knights AAA baseball team, and we're working closely with the Knights on festivities leading up to opening day at the new BB&T Ballpark on April 11, in uptown Charlotte."
To grow both businesses and add farther reaching value to clients, Brantigan has partnered with Bill Booher, who will serve as executive vice president of both Finish First Marketing and CDG. Booher is a longtime Washington D.C. political and business consultant who served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Council on Competitiveness, a Washington, D.C. think tank made up of corporate CEO's, university presidents and labor union leaders.
"Bill's career began in broadcasting in his hometown of Bristol, TN, and among other things, he went on to become an executive at Miller Brewing Company and deputy assistant secretary and advanceman in the administration of president George H.W. Bush," said Brantigan. "And as a consultant who has worked with high level corporate executives and associations, he will play a key role in the expansion of The Charlotte Destination Group and Finish First Marketing as well as adding value to existing clients while giving us a presence in D.C. and other major event locations."
Brantigan landed in Charlotte, N.C, in 1994 and began her career as publicist for DuPont Motorsports and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon through the explosion of his career in the mid-to-late 90's. As a hands-on president and leader of the agency, Brantigan worked closely with other clients as well. And along with driver coach Annamarie Strawhand of Marketing at Full Speed, Brantigan hosted a series of annual summits that focused on educating up-and-coming race drivers about branding, what it takes "off the track" to advance their motorsports careers and attracting sponsors.
Brantigan grew up the daughter of short-track owner/promoter Linda Holdeman whose career spanned 35 years at Oswego (NY) Speedway and Winchester (IN) Speedway, respectively. While in school, Brantigan worked summers with her mother and completed an internship at NASCAR under the late NASCAR Vice President, Jim Hunter.
"Hunter was honored at the North Carolina Motorsports Association Industry Awards banquet last week and I was thinking about what a great man he was, and how he is probably the only person in motorsports that mentored a mother and daughter - two generations - of woman in this sport," said Brantigan. "When my Mom started in this sport, women weren't even allowed in the pits. People like my Mom and Hunter paved the way for me and other woman in the sport and that's why I am so proud to now be a majority woman owned business in motorsports."
Brantigan is active in many Charlotte-area and national organizations including the North Carolina Motorsports Association, The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation Promise Circle, The National Motorsports Press Association, The Charlotte Chamber Board of Advisors, Visit Charlotte, Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Association, Charlotte Regional Partnership and E4 Carolinas. FinishFirstMarketing.com will be launched in the coming weeks.(Finish First Marketing)(1-29-2014)
Humpy Wheeler's Brainchild, Speedway Benefits, Translates into Millions for Potential Sponsors: In just 45 business days, a unique idea that could save many of the nation's grassroots racetracks was born, and the results have been sensational. The idea was created by NASCAR legend Humpy Wheeler and his son Trip. It was simple: amass as many grassroots racetracks as possible and pool them together to sell advertising and collectively buy the products they use most. Speedway Benefits, LLC has already signed close to 300 tracks translating to an annual attendance of over 12,000,000 fans. Members include many of the top tracks in the nation. See full release at speedwaybenefits.com.(12-14-2013)
Calinoff Launches New Company: NASCAR notable, Mike Calinoff [former #17 spotter], has spent a good part of his career creating mutually-beneficial business relationships and designing creative funding models in the motorsports arena. Now, Calinoff has created a separate entity from his successful Public Relations, Social Influence and Branding company, 140BUZZ, to serve drivers and teams in their quest for sponsorships. GENER8PARTNERS, LLC with offices in Huntersville, NC and New York, NY will specialize in experiential marketing, leveraging consumer products and business-to-business relationships to develop sponsorship programs in motorsports with a dedicated staff. "We're not 'sponsor hunters', we're more like matchmakers," said Calinoff. "We're about creating opportunities for companies to not only gain exposure, but increase their businesses as a result of product leverage and creative relationships. The days of just vinyl on sheet metal are long gone."(140 BUZZ)(11-14-2013)
UPDATE: Mike Calinoff leaves the spotters stand following this weekends NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting in 2014, Calinoff will spend more time with family and continue to grow his five companies, 140BUZZ, ENCORE140, GENER8PARTNERS, Mike Calinoff Driver Development and PopularSpeed.com which serve both the motorsports and music industries. "I've been so fortunate to have worked with such a great organization like Roush Fenway and amazing talents like Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne. I never dreamed that I would be able to enjoy the successes that I have been blessed with." Calinoff will continue to be an engaging figure on both Twitter and Facebook. For more information on his companies visit mikecalinoff.com.(11-15-2013)
Humpy Wheeler introduces "Speedway Benefits": H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler introduced "Speedway Benefits," an alliance of grassroots race tracks throughout the country which, collectively, has greater attendance than the NFL, NHL, NBA and NASCAR– combined. There are approximately 1,200 grassroots race tracks in the United States that host 50 million fans annually. This represents over $1 trillion in consumer spending, equal to 6.5% of U.S. GDP. This demographic consists primarily of working class people located in suburban and rural America. Grassroots race tracks employ nearly 2,000 full-time and up to 30,000 part-time employees. The alliance will benefit grassroots race tracks, race track vendors and corporate marketers. Race tracks collectively represent over $200 million in buying power. Speedway Benefits is organized to pool these tracks together, allowing an opportunity for vendors to provide high-volume discounts on a national level for products and services that race tracks commonly purchase. The cost savings go directly to the race tracks' bottom line. For the full press release and more information at speedwaybenefits.com.(10-9-2013)
New marketing agency: After several years behind the wheel and then building/managing Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman’s Hall of Fame Racing team, Alex Whitman has started a motorsports marketing agency called Motorsport Solutions. The agency specializes in helping clients develop, execute and manage customized marketing solutions in multiple forms of motorsport including NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One, sports cars and NHRA. To learn more about Motorsport Solutions, visit www.MotorsportSolutions.com.(4-30-2012)
NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing In Motion Set For Spring 2012 Launch: NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion kicks-off the 2012 season by welcoming 18 partner schools from across the U.S. This innovative case study competition gives college students the opportunity to work through real-world business challenges and scenarios provided by NASCAR and its various industry stakeholders, such as Official Partners, teams and tracks. Since 2009 college students across the nation have spent a semester immersed in the NASCAR brand through NASCAR Kinetics. This grassroots program began with four schools and has grown to become NASCAR’s largest college initiative with 18 schools this semester.
This semester’s first case studies will ask students to create a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy that will help increase Fathead sale of NASCAR-related merchandise. While the second will challenge each team to deliver creative ideas that will help Camping World strength its relationship with NASCAR and promote its products at-track, in stores and online. The final stage of the competition, the viewing parties, will all be hosted in conjunction with M&M’s and will serve to celebrate the colorfulness of the M&M’s characters and NASCAR.
This semester, Kinetics is available at the following 18 schools across the country: Belmont Abbey College, Centenary College, Central Michigan University, Coastal Carolina University, East Tennessee State University, Elon University, High Point University, Indiana State University, Ohio State University, Ohio University, Oklahoma State University, Southern New Hampshire University, Troy University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, University of Oregon and Virginia State University.
NASCAR Kinetics is available every fall and spring semester to teams of five students who are chosen from each participating school. Eligible students must be at least a sophomore with a minimum 2.75 GPA and pursuing a degree or concentration in sport management, sport marketing, business, management, marketing, public relations, communications, journalism, advertising or broadcasting. These students work together to produce one submission for each case study, while concurrently planning and executing a viewing party of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
While the teams are competing for the grand prize of an all-expense paid trip to the NASCAR All-Star Race weekend in Charlotte, N.C., the greater reward is the invaluable experience that serves to build their resume as they finish school and begin their careers. For more information on NASCAR Kinetics, please refer to the new website: www.NASCARKinetics.com.(NASCAR)(3-27-2012)
Calinoff Launches 140BUZZ: At the conclusion of 2011, the combined number of active Facebook and Twitter users was 1.55 billion. By comparison, those social media channels would make up the third largest country in the world. Add to those others such as newcomer Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn and you'll have enough people connected to rival the population of China. So the timing just seemed right for Mike Calinoff, the Spotter for NASCAR Champions Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr and Truck Series sophomore Nelson Piquet to create 140BUZZ with which to serve the motorsports community, as well as all categories of business with budgets of all sizes. "Our online visibility tactics with Social Media, SEO, Public Relations, Branding and integrated digital marketing services are geared not only to drive traffic, but to build relationships for our clients," said Calinoff, "so we're kind of living at the intersection of influence and leverage; and we're confident we can accomplish that by keeping our clients current and relevant." 140BUZZ services will be available à la carte in an effort to target specific needs of grassroots and NASCAR-level racers and teams, along with small to medium-sized businesses.(140BUZZ)(3-2-2012)
Former NASCAR Exec opens communications firm: Ramsey Poston, who led the communications efforts at NASCAR since 2004, announced the opening of a strategic communications firm, Tuckahoe Strategies. The business, which for the time being will consist of only Poston, will manage a select number of clients including NASCAR. The company will provide clients with strategic counsel to positively move brands forward while supporting their marketing and overall communications efforts. Poston will draw from his experience at NASCAR where he set the strategic vision on a day-to-day basis, which included supporting the sport's marketing initiatives and those of its key sponsors.(Tuckahoe Strategies)(12-28-2011)
Drive Motorsports International Expands: Tony Scott, the company's founder and current President and CEO, stated they are taking the motorsports marketing and sponsorship platform and expanding on it to achieve higher returns for their clients.
Drive Motorsports International provides marketing, sponsorship and consulting services to major corporations, areas of the military and many consumer brands that market through motorsports.
"We have been around for a few years now and have been growing just below the surface and now we are starting to break through as a formidable agency that is fundamentally strong," said Mr. Scott. "We are different; we are an edgy creative agency that explores new ways of generating ROI in motorsports. In today's motorsports market place, a lot of companies have the 'been there done that' syndrome or have not achieved the ROI that they expected. There is tremendous value in motorsports and many companies don't truly know how to take full advantage of it. Most people know that a traditional motorsports sponsorship involves logo placement and signage, and that will always be a part of motorsports, that will never go away, and there is significant value there. We however take those traditional concepts and turn them into something revolutionary; we take it to a whole new level. We are coming out with new ideas nobody has seen before and we will always be developing new ways of pushing what is possible. We are the new age motorsports marketing agency."
"The difference between us and our competition is very clear," said Mr. Scott. "We structure our deals to focus on sales and providing trackable revenue increases through motorsports. In other words, we make money for our clients through motorsports. We're not talking about a little bit of money either. We're talking about 10:1 ROI ratio possibilities. We recently built a program with a new sponsor for the Grand-Am Rolex Daytona Prototype team we work with and we established an 8:1 ROI with at least half of that being hard cash money that was 100% trackable on the back end. These are strong ratios for the motorsports industry where some current NASCAR team sponsors wish they could be at 3:1," Mr. Scott stated.
Drive Motorsports International is the go-to agency for any company or brand that is looking at the motorsports segment, either as a new potential sponsor to the sport or current sponsors looking for better results. "We are quite universally used, we work with smaller companies with smaller budgets and we work with larger companies with large budgets," stated Mr. Scott. "Any size company should be able to get involved in motorsports and achieve success." Drive Motorsports International listens to the clients that call on them and learns about their current strategies and objectives and then goes to work to build one off completely customized solutions specifically fit for the client. "We don't charge anything to consult and build programs for the clients that call on us. We only charge a commission if a program is executed and there is a spend. So any company can contact us and learn how Drive Motorsports International can help their bottom line and explore what areas to take advantage of and how." Drive Motorsports International also manages and maintains the programs they build throughout their term and ensures the set milestones are reached while handling all of the measurement metrics and ROI reporting.
"We strongly focus on proper alignment with all of the companies we work with, we talk with brand marketers everyday that are uneducated when it comes to motorsports. They think motorsports means NASCAR or NHRA, but there are so many other areas of motorsports that may align better. We talk to people that have never heard of the American Le Mans Series or the Grand-Am Series or even Off Road Racing and some have never even heard of INDY CAR, and these are areas that can offer significant returns and are considerably cheaper than say NASCAR and they are rapidly growing in popularity as well."
"You know, a lot of people are slamming NASCAR and claiming the ratings are down, the attendance is down and the younger audience has dropped off the map. The truth is that NASCAR is still very popular and offers a very significant value to sponsors if handled properly," stated Mr. Scott. "The problem I see is that the marketers in the sport are not being creative enough and aren't thinking out side of the box. There are a lot of old timers that we have all learned from and respect very much that just aren't embracing the new age of motorsports and how to effectively market in it. It's like the Star Wars quote 'When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master,'" Mr. Scott joked. It seems to be true though; Drive Motorsports International is emerging and is expanding to keep up with demand. "We are a younger, aggressive and edgy agency. We have younger executives that get the new age of motorsports and its demographic and we see where it is going."
The company said in June that it expects its overall revenue to grow to $50 million in the next five years, including expanding overseas. More info at drivemotorsportsinternational.com.(Drive Motorsports International/Market Wire)(4-12-2011)
Driver agent creates own agency, takes some big names: Longtime NASCAR driver agent Rod Moskowitz is spinning off from Motorsports Management International to create his own agency by acquiring the contracts of top drivers #11-Denny Hamlin, #4-Kasey Kahne and #1-Jamie McMurray. The new agency, which will be known as Fuel Sports Management Group, will be run by Moskowitz, who worked for MMI for 11 years, and former Ray Evernham Motorsports executives Rick Russell and David Jessey. Evernham, who at one time considered buying MMI, will be an adviser and member of the board along with Jack Giarraputo, Adam Sandler's partner at Happy Madison Productions. MMI founder Cary Agajanian will continue to represent Tony Stewart and work in NASCAR, as well as drifting and other motorsports. He expects to maintain a close relationship with Fuel Sports Management.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(3-18-2011)
Evernham looking to buy consulting firm: Ray Evernham confirmed on Saturday that he’s submitted an offer to purchase Motorsports Management International (MMI). MMI was founded by Los Angeles-based lawyer Cary Agajanian in 1995 as a driver management and motorsports consulting firm. Today, MMI lists Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray among its clients. From the grassroots development of drivers to the evolution of professional racing, Evernham would be equipped to offer a full-service program. “It’s public knowledge that myself and a group of partners have made an offer to Cary Agajanian,” Evernham said. “With the people that I’m involved with, it would be a really exciting project. We don’t have an answer yet. Cary is still thinking about the offer. He wants to get with us — I think there’s a meeting for the first week of September. So yes, it’s something I’m pursuing. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for the group of people that are involved. I’ve worked with that whole group before and we’ve been successful with other projects. “It’s not like I will have an office there that I’ll be at every day. My part will be some of the driver development and help with driver coaching, driver management of some of the current talent that they have.(in part from FoxSports) and see more chase stats on the Chase Stats after Bristol page.(8-25-2010)
UPDATE: Statement from MMI’s president/founder: “Over the years, MMI has been approached several times about mergers or acquisitions. I have known Ray Evernham for over 20 years and have great respect for him and what he's accomplished in the racing business, especially his mentoring work as a team owner for Kasey Kahne, one of MMI's cornerstone clients. So it is flattering to have Ray's group make an offer for an interest in MMI and build upon the talent management and driver development standard that MMI has set within the industry. We have an ongoing dialogue that will eventually determine if it makes business sense for us to take that next step at this time.” – Cary Agajanian, President/Founder of Motorsports Management International.(8-25-2010)