What's new

Make a Difference

#1
Have always scanned these threads but first time posting. Would really like to get your feedback on a topic that is an issue for our race team. I've grown up around this sport my entire life and I've always wanted to own/drive a professional nitro funny car. After a lot of work and years of driving nostalgia FC's and Fuel Altereds I've finally done it. I agree with a lot of you....I don't necessarily like the way things have gone either, but it is their playground. Anyway, would love to get your feedback on a post that I put on our team facebook page (also copied below)....www.facebook.com/chasingalifelongdream.

PLEASE HELP!

One of the bigger complaints about modern day professional drag racing is the lack of independent teams and unique sponsorships.

As an independent self-funded race team, No Mercy Racing (NMR) needs sponsorship support. We realize that one of our limiting factors is the ability to attend events on a regular basis and to perform well compared to the multi-million dollar corporate mega-teams. The Catch 22 is, as a self-funded team we need marketing partners in order to participate and perform at that level.

Now is your chance to let us know what we can do to earn your marketing business. We want to partner with you to meet your marketing needs while exceeding the Return On Investment (ROI) you expect and deserve. Everyone wants to see drag racing become great again, but who is willing to really invest in a team to make a difference?

• How can NMR earn your sponsorship dollars?
• What equates to a profitable ROI for your business.
Please comment, share and offer solutions. Sincerely appreciate your help my friends.

www.chrisbennettracing.com
 

Bruno

Nitro Member
#2
Chris, what is it you are wanting people to respond to? If you want opinions on your approach to finding money I would say there is no way a "marketing partner" (I hate that phrase and everyone uses it ) would hook up with you. Why? In my opinion, and it is my opinion, you need to go on the offensive, not the defensive when looking for money. In other words, you need to KNOW their business before you ever approach them. You need to study their company come up with a way to increase their business and want them to beg you to partner up. It looks like you are begging them to help you. They don't care about you unless you can show them where they are lacking and leaving sales on the table. Numbers, numbers, numbers. That is what companies want to see. How is this race car thing going to increase this companies numbers? Even if you can find this "niche" that a company has not seen yet (and remember, they have educated employees that are trying to claw their way to the top by doing the same thing just to get promoted) then you have a fighting chance. But be prepared to get the door slammed in your face even after you have done all of this homework. It's a full time job for a team of people to dig into companies to figure out how you can help them. Just my 2 cents.....or less..
 
#3
Chris, what is it you are wanting people to respond to? If you want opinions on your approach to finding money I would say there is no way a "marketing partner" (I hate that phrase and everyone uses it ) would hook up with you. Why? In my opinion, and it is my opinion, you need to go on the offensive, not the defensive when looking for money. In other words, you need to KNOW their business before you ever approach them. You need to study their company come up with a way to increase their business and want them to beg you to partner up. It looks like you are begging them to help you. They don't care about you unless you can show them where they are lacking and leaving sales on the table. Numbers, numbers, numbers. That is what companies want to see. How is this race car thing going to increase this companies numbers? Even if you can find this "niche" that a company has not seen yet (and remember, they have educated employees that are trying to claw their way to the top by doing the same thing just to get promoted) then you have a fighting chance. But be prepared to get the door slammed in your face even after you have done all of this homework. It's a full time job for a team of people to dig into companies to figure out how you can help them. Just my 2 cents.....or less..
Joe,
Great reply! What you wrote is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. Let me tell you that I've spent a countless amount of time on the offensive as well with some results. I have tried a multitude of approaches beyond what you have seen here and will continue to do so. Begging is certainly not my intent and I'll have to revisit what I wrote to ensure it's not taken that way.

You actually said it best, "it's a full time job for a team of people to dig into companies to figure out how you can help them." How true that is! For a small team without sponsorship it takes a full time career to be able to even turn the tires a few times a year. Thus, it begs the question, how does a team find a way to make the time or resources to get the knowledge necessary? Is it hopeless for a small team that's up against highly qualified and experienced team sponsor hunters?

Your reply has some great nuggets and I appreciate the time you took to reply.
 

PJ

Staff Member
Staff member
Nitro Member
#4
I think Joe made some good points but you also have to have a multi-faceted approach. Your post, may entice the sponsor already involved with drag racing or motorsports as they get the "little guy" or David and Goliath angle and want to jump on board. Joe's approach is going to work for non-traditional companies who haven't looked at our sport before. For them, you have to show why they need you and what you can bring to the table ie new customers. Not only do you have to approach different companies, you may have to do so in different ways, which also requires homework and like has been said a lot of people. Good luck
 
#5
Perhaps approach a local Chamber of Commerce when you are racing at an event and see if you could invite some of their members out to the track to experience drag racing? Have them be a part of your team, around your pit area and getting an intimate view of how you approach your racing, how you treat fans and make some contacts that may prove valuable in the future. Company X who comes out to the track with a couple of free tickets one year may be interested in you hosting them again with some of their guests the following year if it works for them.
I like the blogs you are doing, the 'rawness' of it makes for a refreshing change.
 

Jimbo

Nitro Member
#6
I also agree with everything Joe said and he is spot on with his comments.

First question you should think about his how much money are you looking for? $50,000 dollars or a few million dollars?
Knowing how much money you need will determine what types of sponsors to approach.

A few years ago I worked for a NASCAR truck team that was also looking for sponsorship and they hired a guy who does for many teams.
This guy charged a lot of money and he did get them in front of a few very large companies to make their presentation but there were a number of reasons why it did not work out.

One large company they really showed interest told my friends they were also looking at another NASCAR team.
This team which I won't mention the name of had a few different drivers in different series and they said they would put the companies logo on four different cars they raced for the same amount of money!

First thing to always think about is not what you want but what the sponsors want and need from you.
How professional do you and your team look? If they said they wanted to come see your shop and operation would you be proud to show it to them?

Do you have a transporter that a sponsor would be want to have their name on? Is your transporter a converted U-Haul truck or a Feather-lite 53' semi with all the bells and whistles?
Start thinking along these lines so that if you have someone interested they are not disappointed when they come for a visit!!!!

That "Old Saying First Impressions are Lasting Impressions" applies here.

Before anyone goes looking for a sponsor try and look as professional as you can.

Just my opinion.
Jim Hill
http://www.nostalgicracingdecals.com
 

Butch

Nitro Member
#9
Back in my Drag Boat days. It wasn't uncommon for a racer to get involved with a local busisnes for
sponsorship . I remember that Eddie Hill had Hayes Jewelers at Highpoint. Another race somebody had a
local Honda Cycle shop.
Probably as was mentioned above, getting in contact with the local CC months before the race would help.
 
#10
IMHO the reality there is no clear cut way to get a true ROI from motorsports, especially now. The big companies like NAPA, Blue Def, Monster and such have such a large budget that racing is a very small % of their advertising/marketing spend and they have a national reach. Racing for them is a small piece of a huge puzzle. The reality is you will need to find privately held companies where the owner is a race fan and justifies the spend more for a tax write off than a advertising play. There is a lot of ego gratification that goes with seeing your name on the side of a racecar. Not to mention, if you position it right, it can be great team building to get your employees cheering for "their" car. The flip side to the team building approach is many would rather have a monetary bonus and it can be viewed as wast full on the companies part. "If the boss man can spend money on that stupid racecar, then why cant he give me that raise I asked for" Chris, I would sugest for you to focus on the WIFM (whats in it for me) and make it easy. Come up with a dollar amount and let the business owner know what they get for it. The reality, you are selling an experience more than an investment. What I tell racers all the time is think of all the small/medium businesses that have been involved in racing in the past that no longer sponsor a car. Good chance the owner still loves racing, but for whatever reason are not involved. It may be they didnt feel important to the tam they were with. $10K a race would get you a small piece of real estate on on a DSR/Force car, but would be the primary sponsor on a independent team. Also, get them involved, hang out in the pit, give them a job washing parts, let them ride in the tow vehicle to see what goes on in the staging lanes and at the top end and enjoy a beer with the crew at the end of the day.
 

PJ

Staff Member
Staff member
Nitro Member
#11
One area that was mentioned above was how a team can offer signage on multiple cars, which is a huge draw.

It might be worth getting a loose cooperation with a few other independent races. If you get x money for a signage on your ride, you can hook up a few partners for a small percentage and signage space on their rides and vice versa on deals that they do.

I like the local connection but that is a lot of work to hook up with local groups at each track. A better idea might be regional level businesses. Speedway gas stations are huge in my region and I am always surprised I don't see them on race cars. That would cover multiple national events. Larger regional grocery stores. I think Herbert used to have deal for Charlotte races with one.
 

Bruno

Nitro Member
#12
Some good, thoughtful responses to an interesting topic. Here are a couple other things to chew on. A friend of mine rides Pro Stock bike and has a machine shop. Though he would love to have a "sponsor" he also realizes the work involved. He once told me " the last thing I need is another full time job!" meaning his shop, the bike and now a sponsor to work for full time - which is what they expect.

Years back, Kenny Bernstein had his marketing team track every single "impression" that the Bud King got via publications, TV coverage, race exposure, transporter sightings, displays, you name it. Each impression had a value - and I would expect the values varied depending on what they were. All the values were added up for the year and laid in front of the powers that be. Then you are able to say "we gave you $X dollars worth of exposure for the $X dollars you spent with us". In their case, I believe the exposure value was well over the amount paid. Now, the fat cats are realizing they got MORE than their money's worth and they are smiling through their cigars. Keep in mind that Budweiser was most likely not after direct increased sales but more about keeping the name out there and in front.

Another friend got a small sponsorship from a well known oil company for his unique race car. My friend worked for a company that could sell these products. The next year he was disappointed that the sponsorship was not renewed. The oil company wanted their product in all the branches my friend worked. Of course they did! My response to him was - make a deal to get the product into the branches and 3-5% of the sales go towards the sponsorship. The oil company would fall over themselves getting to the contract with pen in hand. this is real money to your sponsor. If I were the oil company, I would love it knowing you were going to bust ass to sell product to get your share of the pie to race. He was not willing nor really able to make that happen so the sponsorship ended.

A few years ago I presented a proposal to a company that was automotive based and involved in racing besides. I had an in to get right to the VP of marketing personally. Knowing that these things are flowing across their desks on a weekly basis, I came up with a very unique approach and delivered it. Within a couple days, I got a call from the VP. His response was, "you win! I have worked in Motorsports marketing for 20 plus years, have worked with the Unsers, Andrettis, Forces, and many others and no one has come up with something like this!" My response was, great! What do I win?? Long story short, they sponsored an Indy car for the 500 and within 3 years the company was out of business. The point is, you need to think about real ways to get their attention then give them something they need - especially if they don't even know they need it.

Jim Hill mentioned about a friend losing a sponsorship opportunity when another team would put the name on several cars. This is a common problem not just in Motorsports but in every avenue of business. People are willing to prostitute themselves just to get business. All that does is devalue your product - whether it is race car sponsorships or hamburgers.

At any rate, don't give up and keep on keepin' on! And you thought the racing was tough! Racing is easy compared to getting funding to race!
 

kegs

Nitro Member
#13
I think as a new team that hasn't attended a National Event it is darn near impossible. Without any experience you don't really have a product to sell. As hard as it would be I think you have to attend races out of your own pocket before you might get any interest proving you can get them a ROI. I think renting the car out is a decent way to get out there without going broke. Unless of course they hurt everything you own. I've been hustling money as a racer and promoter for quite a while and it's stupid hard.
 
#14
Some outstanding responses, suggestions, and valuable insight. Thank you all for taking time to contribute well thought out repsonses. Let me try to respond to a few of the comments made. Please don't take this as not "hearing" what you are saying. I truly value any suggestions and remain open minded to your ideas.

PJ - Thank you, well put.

Luke - Chamber of Commerce - I will certainly explore this approach. Great suggestion! Thanks for reading my words. For those that don't know, I started capturing my experiences as a 20 year Air Force veteran and lifelong ambition to drag race in my owner/driver blog at www.chrisbennettracing.com. Check it out and feel free to comment. If you haven't figured it out yet, I encourage constructive criticism.

Jimbo - How much $. Ah, the golden question. The thing is, $350 helps.....so do I turn it down? The ultimate answer is $5 mil a year is what it takes. I actually started a new, inexpensive, and easily accessible way of sponsoring NMR - http://www.nomercyfunnycar.com/noframe_ostore.php

FWIW, I think we've done a good job of looking the part. We have a transporter, crew uniforms, and actually have really nice equipment. Let me challenge you though for anyone that is chasing the same dream as me....should they stay home until they look presentable? For some, they would never race. One of the reasons I HATE going to a national event is because it is so defeating to see what I'm up against. If I waited to have what the big teams have, I'd never even try. Sincerely appreciate your comments. Take a look at our stuff and let me know where you see we can do a better job.

Dennis - You are 100% correct.....but it doesn't change the fact it's a dream I want to achieve. When I was a kid my dream was to fly the SR-71. It was retired before I became a USAF pilot.....should I have just gave up? I know, it's totally different, but hopefully you get my point.....and I do agree with you.

Butch - great suggestion and comment

Ice Bucket - B2B is a big part of the ROI in todays sponsorship arena. We obviously can't leverage the opportunities that big teams can. I have the dollar amount posted and try to make it affordable for small businesses to participate....especially for the "pride" factor. http://www.nomercyfunnycar.com/noframe_ostore.php

PJ - well stated!

Bruno - Man, thanks soo much for sharing all this. I know it took some time to write it all out and I want you to know that I read every bit of it. Great examples and insight.

Kegs - I know first hand how hard you've hustled over the years as a racer and promoter. Guess what, I've watched you and learned from what you've done. Thanks for the comment. For those that don't know, NMR has entered two national events with "guest" drivers. We DNQ'd both....it's a work in progress.

Folks, I sincerely thank each one of you that have taken this seriously and provided feedback. I've invested an unbelievable amount of time, money and effort into this venture over a life time of chasing a childhood dream. I try to keep my ego in check while doing this and asking for help is something I'm not afraid to do. There isn't one single step of this process that is easy but I have to tell you that I don't regret a single minute of it. I'm an extremely blessed man to be able to do what I do and I do my best to enjoy it and everyone that I get to share the experience with. Appreciate your time and open candor. For those that might be interested please "like", and "follow" the NMR Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chasingalifelongdream
 
#15
Have always scanned these threads but first time posting. Would really like to get your feedback on a topic that is an issue for our race team. I've grown up around this sport my entire life and I've always wanted to own/drive a professional nitro funny car. After a lot of work and years of driving nostalgia FC's and Fuel Altereds I've finally done it. I agree with a lot of you....I don't necessarily like the way things have gone either, but it is their playground. Anyway, would love to get your feedback on a post that I put on our team facebook page (also copied below)....www.facebook.com/chasingalifelongdream.

PLEASE HELP!

One of the bigger complaints about modern day professional drag racing is the lack of independent teams and unique sponsorships.

As an independent self-funded race team, No Mercy Racing (NMR) needs sponsorship support. We realize that one of our limiting factors is the ability to attend events on a regular basis and to perform well compared to the multi-million dollar corporate mega-teams. The Catch 22 is, as a self-funded team we need marketing partners in order to participate and perform at that level.

Now is your chance to let us know what we can do to earn your marketing business. We want to partner with you to meet your marketing needs while exceeding the Return On Investment (ROI) you expect and deserve. Everyone wants to see drag racing become great again, but who is willing to really invest in a team to make a difference?

• How can NMR earn your sponsorship dollars?
• What equates to a profitable ROI for your business.
Please comment, share and offer solutions. Sincerely appreciate your help my friends.
Have always scanned these threads but first time posting. Would really like to get your feedback on a topic that is an issue for our race team. I've grown up around this sport my entire life and I've always wanted to own/drive a professional nitro funny car. After a lot of work and years of driving nostalgia FC's and Fuel Altereds I've finally done it. I agree with a lot of you....I don't necessarily like the way things have gone either, but it is their playground. Anyway, would love to get your feedback on a post that I put on our team facebook page (also copied below)....www.facebook.com/chasingalifelongdream.

PLEASE HELP!

One of the bigger complaints about modern day professional drag racing is the lack of independent teams and unique sponsorships.

As an independent self-funded race team, No Mercy Racing (NMR) needs sponsorship support. We realize that one of our limiting factors is the ability to attend events on a regular basis and to perform well compared to the multi-million dollar corporate mega-teams. The Catch 22 is, as a self-funded team we need marketing partners in order to participate and perform at that level.

Now is your chance to let us know what we can do to earn your marketing business. We want to partner with you to meet your marketing needs while exceeding the Return On Investment (ROI) you expect and deserve. Everyone wants to see drag racing become great again, but who is willing to really invest in a team to make a difference?

• How can NMR earn your sponsorship dollars?
• What equates to a profitable ROI for your business.
Please comment, share and offer solutions. Sincerely appreciate your help my friends.

www.chrisbennettracing.com
I heard that you should create a friendship with a sponser first like invite them out to a race so they can see what its like. then ask for sponsorship I also heard that when your sponser comes out to a race you should pay for there expenses because they sponser you.

Best of luck to you and your team.
 

Joker

Nitro Member
#16
I pretty much agree with everything thats been said in here regarding sponsorships. Honestly, people dont realize how hard it is to get a company's money. The best way is find a CEO or marketing person with a drag racing dream. And if you pay attention to the little guys, alot of what they have is local sponsorship for each race. I have seen all kinds of companies do it for one weekend, and then every year, and a few times that works into something major. You need to tell them why they need you. You have to show them how you are going to make them money. Now every number you need to know.

With that being said, I 100% completely agree that if you arent out there racing your chances are significantly less. Alot of sponsorships I know of, came from the track. Good luck Chris.
 

Top