Prevost Car Co. and NASCAR announced a new multi-year partnership that designates the Sainte-Claire, Quebec-based conversion coach builder as the official luxury motorcoach of NASCAR. According to a press release, the alignment reinforces Prevost’s nearly 30-year association with the No. 1 spectator sport in the United States and “increases its visibility with an influential and vibrant cross-section of American business.”
“This partnership between Prevost and NASCAR is a natural fit for two thriving brands that share an unrelenting commitment to innovation,” said Gaetan Bolduc, Prevost president and CEO. “Prevost motorcoaches are fixtures at NASCAR events, populating driver and team owner parking lots. And Prevost hospitality, executive and technical support coaches serve as mobile work stations for manufacturers, teams and sponsors.”
Prevost reported that Sprint, Toyota Racing Development, Ford Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are a few of the organizations that operate from trackside corporate coaches throughout the season.
“Prevost’s state-of-the-art motorcoaches provide a home-away-from-home for our drivers, team owners, partners, and fans throughout the course of our demanding season,” said NASCAR Chief Sales Officer Jim O’Connell. “Our three national series provide a grand stage for Prevost to showcase its luxury motorcoaches to a substantial number of brands and consumers at the track who may consider purchasing or leasing a product or vehicle.”
Prevost’s involvement with NASCAR began in the 1980s as Featherlite Coaches and Marathon Coach led the way in providing trackside offices and living quarters for competitors, sponsors, suppliers and families who made the racetrack their home throughout the race season.
Good Sam Enterprises LLC (GSE) announced a new partnership with NASCAR to offer a comprehensive Roadside Assistance Program to those traveling by auto, truck or SUV, according to a news release.
Leveraging GSE’s existing proprietary network of service providers in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the new NASCAR Roadside Assistance will provide unlimited-distance towing to the nearest network service facility. “Sign & drive” coverage will also be available in Mexico.
Coverage will be available for virtually any type of truck, auto or van. Other services will include mobile mechanic dispatch for minor roadside repairs, tire changes, jump starts, delivery of up to five gallons of fuel if the customer runs out, lockout service and lost key return . Help will be available within the coming months via a downloadable app on the customer’s smart phone. Dispatchers use GPS technology to pinpoint the customer’s location. The new NASCAR Roadside Assistance will also utilize the GSE program’s nationwide tire network for fast delivery and service so customers can get back on the road following a tire mishap.
The GSE program has nearly three decades of experience and over 1.6 million roadside rescues to its credit.
“We are pleased to partner with NASCAR and to provide this exceptional Roadside Assistance product,” said Marcus Lemonis, GSE chairman and CEO. “Taking care of customers whether on their way to work, a relaxing weekend with family or coming and going from an exciting NASCAR race weekend is our core focus.”
Phoenix International Raceway announced that Camping World will be a corporate partner as the NASCAR facility’s official provider of RV rentals, sales and service.
According to a press release, Camping World will provide the thousands of campers, who make ZOOMTOWN, U.S.A. their home for the Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR weekend, with on-site products and service located at Cotton 3 RV parking lot at PIR.
“Camping World is proud to partner with Phoenix International Raceway as the official provider of RV and camping accessories, parts, service, sales and rentals,” said Camping World chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis. “It’s our chance to give back to the racing community, allowing us the privilege of providing the gear and supplies that race fans need when they are at this premier racing venue in their RVs.”
“Race fans are loyal to their driving teams and to their RV lifestyle,” added Lemonis. “That’s the kind of passion that Camping World has for meeting their needs, whether they are camping at the track or on their way to the next racing event with their family and friends.”
The Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners community, and Atlanta Motor Speedway announced the sponsorship of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Event will be titled the Good Sam Club 200 and is scheduled to run Sept. 2.
Home of the biggest Labor Day party in the USA, the Atlanta Motor Speedway 1.54-mile track vies for the title of the “fastest track in NASCAR” and consistently delivers exciting racing. “We are proud to partner with Atlanta Motor Speedway,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises. “Atlanta is a great market for Good Sam and Camping World, and we look forward to sharing in the race excitement while exposing the fans to our brand, products and services at our on-site store.”
“Labor Day weekend is a great time for camping and our fans come from all over the country to enjoy the events here at AMS, so this partnership is the perfect fit,” said Ed Clark, president and general manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway. “The presence of the Camping World store on-site for the weekend will serve our fans well.”
Continuing its recent trend, Pocono Raceway announced Thursday (July 21) that Good Sam will provide title sponsorship for its upcoming NASCAR weekend, according to the Scranton Times-Tribune.
Good Sam, the world’s largest RV owners community, will back both NASCAR races at Pocono on Aug. 6-7. The Sprint Cup Series race will be called the Good Sam RV Insurance 500, while the Camping World Truck Series race will be called the Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125.
Founded in 1966, the Good Sam Club offers assistance, discounts and other resources to RV owners.
“This is a great opportunity to sponsor the race weekend and to expose race goers to our broad selection of camping and tailgating products,” Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam, said in a press release.
Beginning in 1997, Pocono chose to promote its facility and the state in which it is located in the names of its two annual NASCAR races: the Pocono 500 and the Pennsylvania 500.
In 2008, Sunoco and the American Red Cross came on as partial sponsors of the Pennsylvania 500.
In June 2010, Gillette Fusion ProGlide sponsored the first Pocono race.
Five weeks ago, when NASCAR made its first visit of the season to Pocono, the race was called the 5-Hour Energy 500 and won by Jeff Gordon.
On Friday, Aug. 5, practice will be held at Pocono for the Sprint Cup, Camping World Truck and ARCA Series cars.
Qualifying for the Sprint Cup and Truck Series will be held Saturday, Aug. 6 in the morning. The Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125 race will begin at 1 p.m., followed by the ARCA Pennsylvania 125 at 3 p.m.
The Good Sam RV Insurance 500 will be Sunday, Aug. 7 at 1 p.m.
Being a stock car driver at the top level of NASCAR can make an absentee father out of any good dad. The demands of travel, sponsor appearances, and the time commitment at the various race tracks on the circuit can eat up all of the daylight hours and more.
David Gilliland and his wife, Michelle, wanted to break out of that formula this summer, so they put together a lengthy family expedition that would carry them from track to track, while taking in the sights and experiences of America with their two children along the way, the Toledo (Ohio) Blade reported.
There was some trepidation, since the Gillilands would be in mighty close quarters for a month or more, traveling and living inside a custom motorhome. Most of the Sprint Cup Series drivers stay in these maxed-out recreational vehicles in the infield of the tracks, for privacy and convenience, but few ever operate them.
While Michelle jokingly envisioned the possibility of a National Lampoon movie unfolding as the Gillilands planned their journey, their travelogue has played out more like the trip of a lifetime.
“All of my girlfriends were teasing me and saying this is something I should blog about because there would probably be some fireworks, but we’ve actually been having a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a big change from our regular routine, where David is off racing and I’m with the kids, but it has worked out really well.”
Gilliland, who will be out on the track today (Aug. 13) in Brooklyn, Mich., at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) qualifying for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400, pulled his full-size motorcoach into the MIS infield in the wee hours of Thursday morning after a six-hour trek from upstate New York, where the family had been camping since last weekend’s race at Watkins Glen.
“I’ve had this motorhome for about four years, but before this trip, I drove it once,” Gilliland said. “Someone else put 100,000 miles on it, taking it from track to track. This trip has allowed me to see some of the country with my family, and it’s given me a greater appreciation for the job our motorhome drivers do. It is work setting up and operating these things.”
As the Cup Series has wound its way from Indianapolis to Pocono to Watkins Glen and then MIS, the family has camped on Grand Island, caught bragging-sized smallmouth bass from the Niagara River, spent three days at Cedar Point enjoying the rides and the water park, and taken the ferry out to South Bass Island in Lake Erie.
They also have gone wake-boarding, rented kayaks, and experienced a lot of things along the way for the first time. They haven’t been home in about five weeks.
“It’s been something different for us, but something that we did with my dad when I was a kid,” Gilliland said. “We used to tow the race car and camp along the way. Some of my best memories as a kid came from those trips.”
The California native hopes that his children, Todd (10) and Taylor (7), will have similar recollections of this trip. Taylor recently lost a tooth en route, and learned that the Sprint Cup circuit entourage includes the Tooth Fairy, while Todd landed a smallmouth bass in New York that would turn most fishermen green with envy.
“I thought this was a way to have some real quality time as a family, and it has worked out better than we could have hoped for,” Gilliland said. “This lets me recharge, then get back at it. I find that I come to the track refreshed. I used to get on a jet, close my eyes, and then wake up and ask somebody where we were. This is a little slower, obviously, but it’s really been nice.”
Gilliland, who won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2007 and now drives the No. 38 Taco Bell Ford for Front Row Motorsports, said even though his children are getting used to having him around, they still always ask for their mom when they need something. He said their travels together have made him appreciate his family more and reinforced their internal bond.
“It has been a great experience for all of us,” Gilliland said. “But my wife is still kind of surprised that we haven’t tried to kill each other.”
Arizona-based Beaudry RV Co. is the exclusive RV dealer for NASCAR at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) for the seventh consecutive year.
From April 5-11, Beaudry RV will be onsite with approximately 75 units to sell. There will be five sale locations throughout the PIR site, including a full RV parts and accessories store. There will also be five mobile service techs onsite. Beaudry RV will be hosting live music at Gate 1 featuring Nathan Dean. There will also be Chuck O tournaments daily with the first prize being two reserved camping spaces and four tickets for the November race.
“Offering our customers discounts for NASCAR only makes sense,” says Thom Sylvester of Beaudry RV. “We want our clients to see us as more than a singleminded RV dealer. We want them to see us as someone who thinks of them after a saleand affiliates itself with their interests.”
Beaudry RV Co. has been in business since 1970 when it opened as a small gas station. Four generations later, Beaudry RV Co. is the largest RV dealer in the Southwest.
Editor’s Note: NASCAR writer Joe Dunn shows how NASCAR and the RV industry are intertwined in this report on Sunday’s NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. It first appeared on www.onpitroad.com. Dunn is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. He reports on NASCAR and provides action photos for OnPitRoad.com as well as Speedwaymedia.com and various electronic and print media. In addition to Speedwaymedia.com, his racing stories have appeared in regional newspapers as well as on Fox Sports.
For 55 straight races the Bristol Motor Speedway has sold every seat for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. That ended today as the ‘official’ NASCAR estimate of 138,000 fell far short of the 160,000 seats available.
The really sad part is that other estimates pegged the crowd at more in the area of 115,000 fans in attendance, that means up to 45,000 empty seats. For over 27 years, the Cup races sold out, during some of the past years the sellout occurred prior to the end of the previous race season. This was the track where folks would wait in the rain, or stay on phone lines for hours every November when what seats were left over, after ticket renewals, went on sale. The first year they did that sale on the website, the Internet was crashed over a nine-state region. Other years, the entire 423 area code went off line from an overload. Although BMS always had a policy against reselling of tickets, folks started selling worthless momentous on eBay for outrageous prices because the purchaser would get free Bristol Tickets. In some years, that even went to include season ticket renewal rights. Worthless pins, worn out T-shirts and even ripped and stained race programs went for thousands of dollars, to those desperate to get a seat at the Mecca of NASCAR racing.
For the last two years, the track began extending the payment deadline and instituted payment plans to retain season ticket holders. In 2009, the track sent a van around to the parking lots of Food City grocery stores throughout a three-state region in a last ditch effort to sell every ticket to the Food City 500. Food City themselves, as well as other local business bought up tickets and donated them all to insure the sellout continued. This year, those efforts were not undertaken, and I have not heard an explanation of why. Perhaps the fact that Track President Jeff Byrd was not around as he battles a medical issue, contributed. It was the first race he has missed since he has been there. Like Eddie Gossage at Texas Motor Speedway and Humpy Wheeler, who headed Charlotte Motor Speedway for decades, Jeff is an outstanding promoter. When Jeff announced that he would be absent this time, no replacement was appointed, as Jeff always said, he has the best folks in the world on his staff, and everything went off well for the races. So that may have been a factor, but I believe that it is bigger than that.
Obviously the economy has taken a huge hit over the past two years and the effect is evident at most of the races, but this was the wake-up call. Last year, as the track struggled to squeeze every last ticket sale out, the other folks surrounding the track seemed to ignore the problem. Or perhaps, they just figured that it was only the tracks responsibility to suck it up in hard times. As I watched the race today and saw all the empty seats, when the occasional aerial views were shown, the massive green areas of empty campsites could also be seen, I could see the local impact. A review of the campgrounds, after all Bristol is mainly a camping track, showed no give on their part. No reduced rates, no extra specials, no huge improvements. I can remember back to 10 years ago and what it cost to camp at Bristol then, and look at the cost today shaking my head.
Here, to the best of my recollection is where the rates have gone. In 2001, Earhart Campground was about $60 for the week, this year the rate is $200 with virtually no changes. All American Campground was the big dollar site at $100, they have leveled many sites and made improvements, even added sites with water & electric, but the bare site for a camper is now $260 and sites with water and electric run $520. The Red Barn, another one next to the track was about $90, now it is $200 and one infuriated camper told me today that they suddenly started charging extra for showers in what used to be the free shower area. Across from the drag strip, Farmer Bob’s was $60 and now is up to $140 for a basic camper site. They have made improvements over the years and do have some cheaper tent sites. Bill Gaines Bristol Campground was $60 and is now $160, they have however made huge improvements over the years, adding hard surfaced roadbeds every year, installing lighting throughout the campground and bringing in a portable shower house that is probably the cleanest in the area.
A check of local hotels and motels shows that they don’t think the fans need a break at all. What were $100 a night rooms 10 years ago are now $350-$500 a night rooms. During non race weekend, these of course are about $50 a night rooms. This time as a last minute call to go, left me in a lurch, I considered myself lucky to get what should normally be a $25 room for $160 a night. And no, I would not have taken my wife to that place either.
I hope that some of the folks in the Tri-Cities area take the time to read this, perhaps with the weekends dismal attendance numbers it will serve as a wake up call to the area. Perhaps the city of Bristol should reconsider their pilfering of race fans with ’Hotel’ tax they added to campgrounds a few years ago. A $140 campsite has $20 in state and local taxes added to the price. Jeff Byrd has always emphasized that BMS is and should be Fan Friendly, perhaps it is time that the local government, business’ and folks tried doing the same.
NASCAR announced early this year that the race purses would be cut 10% because of the bad economy, according to some team owners, the actual cuts are much more than 10%. Maybe it’s time for the tracks to consider cutting ticket and concession prices at least 10% and for the local vendors to do the same. Were you there this weekend, or are you one of those regulars that skipped Bristol this time? If so, please add your comments and suggestions. I will make sure that the folks in Bristol hear what you have to say.
Usually, the campgrounds surrounding the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., are wall-to-wall celebration in the days leading to the spring NASCAR race, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.
Not this time.
By Thursday afternoon (March 18), most of the grassy lots that should by now be in the shadow of RVs and camping tents were just soaking in the sun.
“This is usually (filled on) both sides as far as the eye can see,” retired truck driver Gerald Wilder said as he waved both hands at the Twin-City Drive-In Theatre lot, on U.S. Highway 11E within sight of the speedway.
The theater’s billboard-sized screen towered above a dozen RVs, two tents and acres of empty space.
Wilder’s camper stood off to the side of the drive-in entrance, in the very spot he’d rented three weeks ago in anticipation of a packed lot. Why? Because it’s been that way with each spring trek from his home in the Northern Tennessee city of Speedwell.
“People are losing jobs,” he said of the sour economy. “This was their vacation.”
He’s betting more fans will arrive today. They’ve probably decided to trade an expensive, week-long camping trip for a cheaper weekend stay.
Drive-in owner Danny Warden hopes that is the case.
“Some of them will just drive in for the race and drive back out,” he said. Even if cars and trucks arrive without campers, he could still turn a profit by renting out parking space.
Track officials also have pointed to the poor national economy to explain why they can no longer sell out 160,000 seats weeks before the race. Tickets were still available Thursday. It’s also why much of the corporate sector has stopped buying seats in blocks.
Waving goodbye to the corporate sector might have a positive, yet still bitter, benefit, said Danny Gentry, owner of Gentry’s Camping and Parking.
“You’re back to the true race fans … like it was 15 years ago,” Gentry said while patiently awaiting more arrivals at the entrance of his near-empty 15-acre lot.
There could be trouble for BMS if only the diehard fans are left. Many fans grumbled after the 2007 resurfacing project that widened the track. Getting ahead on the previously slim BMS track meant drivers had to smash their way to the front. It’s what fans said they expected to see at Bristol.
Those spectacular pileups had fans returning for more every March and August.
Now, drivers have enough room to slip past slower cars without risking a spectacular finish on the day.
“It made a big difference” to fans, Gentry said.
Wilder, from the drive-in, hopes recent track upgrades will pump some adrenaline back into the show.
BMS officials have extended the crash barriers at the exits for two turns by more than 160 feet, thereby reducing the racing groove by nearly three feet.
“I think it’s going to be like it used to be,” Wilder said.
Still, some campers wondered if forces more powerful than economics and track width are to blame for the weak early turnout.
Canadians Isobel and Wilf Cobb looked down on the speedway from their lot atop a hill on Gentry’s campground. They arrived in Bristol on Saturday, after motoring hundreds of miles from their home in Ontario. It’s a trip they’ve made annually for 10 years.
Clouds have blanketed the sky for most of the week, parting for the first time Thursday, Isobel Cobb said.
At that, she motioned a hand to the heavens: “Maybe they’re waiting for the weather (to clear). You just don’t know.”
Jay Robinson Racing and Blue Ox Products jointly announced that Blue Ox Products will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 28 car driven by Kenny Wallace in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Feb. 13 as part of NASCAR’s 2010 opening weekend in Daytona, according to a news release.
Blue Ox, of Pender, Neb., is a leading manufacturer of recreational vehicle and towing industry supplies and accessories. With the strong roots and legacy of Blue Ox tracing back to 1926, NASCAR teams and officials know well the excellence of Blue Ox vehicle accessories, from gooseneck hitches to weight distributing hitches and from towbars to track bars.
“We’re privileged to be the primary sponsor for Kenny Wallace and the No. 28,” said, Jay Hesse, Blue Ox CEO. “Kenny has been a valued member and supporter of the RV Industry and Blue Ox Products for several years. Vice President Ellen Kietzmann and I are thrilled to be able cultivate our longstanding relationship with Kenny.”
“We are thrilled to have Blue Ox on board as primary sponsor for the opening 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series weekend in Daytona,” said Jay Robinson, owner of the team. “Blue Ox has been a valued partner to NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway for several years and we hope this race sponsorship will lead to continued opportunities with the leading recreational vehicle and towing company in the future.” Jay added: “We have teamed in past seasons, and we are excited to have them join with us again this year. It will be great to have them partnered with Kenny Wallace behind the wheel in Daytona of our Blue Ox No. 28 Chevrolet.”
“I’m looking forward to this season’s start at Daytona, and giving Blue Ox a solid run. Our opening weekend is always an exciting, really competitive time, and I certainly will be backed by a solid company, in the Blue Ox No. 28,” said driver Kenny Wallace. “It is always a pleasure to represent a well respected company like Blue Ox.
“Blue Ox has a longstanding reputation for producing quality hitches and tow bars from a first class quality organization. While looking at the blue on white primary sponsor Blue Ox decals for his Daytona Nationwide car. I will do my very best to ‘get hooked up’ while drafting in the No. 28 Chevy. I’d like to give the outstanding Blue Ox company a good finish; and hopefully give them something to cheer about this opening weekend at Daytona.”
The racing team gets their first shot at the Daytona International Superspeedway on Thursday, with two Nationwide Series practice sessions. Qualifying is on schedule for Friday at 3 p.m. with live coverage on ESPN2. This year’s Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 Daytona race begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, with pre-race coverage starting at noon on ESPN.