Sep 30, 2013, 3:00 PM EST
IZOD got what it could from the first four years of its six-year relationship with IndyCar before announcing its departure. It’s easy to forget now but there was a crescendo of activation from its initial dip into the series’ waters in 2008 through the end of the 2011 season.
While the last two years have seen a minimal IZOD presence, the presence of one partner increasing its visibility has been obvious and a second, long-time partner also makes quite decent sense. On the surface, it seems logical one of the two will take over for IZOD as title sponsor of the IndyCar Series.
Verizon would be a major coup for IndyCar title sponsor. It entered on a part-time basis with Roger Penske in 2009, with Will Power’s third car carrying Verizon signage at two races (Long Beach, Indianapolis). Verizon upped the ante to full-time sponsorship in 2010 with Power and hasn’t looked back since.
Beyond the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, though, Verizon has entered into a partnership with IndyCar via the official Verizon INDYCAR app, and it has a team of marketing people at every race working to provide inside access for the fans. Verizon has also been visible on the rear wheel guards of every single IndyCar this year, new for 2013.
From a “beyond IndyCar” standpoint, think for a second about how many Verizon stores and dealers there are nationwide. You have a company that could use IndyCar as its selling point versus NASCAR – sponsored by rival Sprint. Marketing aspects could include speed (230 mph-plus), the Indianapolis 500, and a variety of circuits and markets unmatched by any North American series. It also targets a much wider demographic outside the niche that is racing fans, given the level of exposure and the number of individuals nationwide who have Verizon products.
It’s exciting to write about the possibility, and I’m hoping it’s not just a dream at this point. If not Verizon, though, there’s one other company that makes a ton of sense:
IndyCar, its drivers and teams, love their Firestone tires. So much so, that there was a near mutiny toward the end of Randy Bernard’s era at the helm of the series at the mere suggestion of Continental tires coming into play as a replacement, both as a tire partner and potential title sponsor.
Looking at Firestone’s landscape this year, there have been many key changes. Longtime heads Al Speyer and Joe Barbieri have moved on. The company entered into sports car racing this year with the Bridgestone brand supplying the DeltaWing, but that will end at the end of the year with all prototypes in Tudor UnitedSports Car running on – ironically – Continentals next year. Additionally, Firestone moves on from Indy Lights at the end of the year, with Cooper supplying them next year.
From a branding and activation standpoint, Firestone could put all its muscle behind IndyCar and there would be no better way to do so than as title sponsor.
I will say this as a word of caution, though. Firestone would be a more conservative choice because it penetrates an older audience and the automotive market first, whereas you tend to think of Verizon as a company that could reach a wider, younger audience.
And if history is a judge, Firestone’s been here before. The awkward, clunky “Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford” from 2003 through 2006 was a nice way of saying, “Well, we have Firestone/Bridgestone support, but not much else.” By 2007, the warning signs had emerged for Champ Car, Bridgestone pulled its title sponsorship and Champ Car was absorbed by INDYCAR prior to 2008. Correlation is not causation, I know, but I don’t think anyone in the current landscape wants to feel the same about the possibility of a Firestone title sponsorship this time around.
Bottom line: I’d be happy with either, given their current involvement in the sport and respective levels of activation. So long as we don’t hearken back to the “Pep Boys” or “Northern Lights” eras…
Dec 5, 2013, 2:39 PM EST
NASCAR CEO Brian France mentioned lots of accomplishments for his organization during the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season this morning in Las Vegas, but noted that it’s also preparing diligently for the year to come. In a wide-ranging session with reporters, France talked about the ongoing testing for the Gen-6 cars that debuted this past…
Dec 5, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Multiple changes have been announced this morning by NASCAR regarding drivers’ eligibility for being elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Going forward, drivers that have competed for at least 10 seasons and have turned 55 years old on or before Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year are eligible. Additionally, drivers…
Dec 5, 2013, 1:15 PM EST
We wish a happy 27th birthday today to IndyCar’s lone full-time confirmed Canadian for 2014, James Hinchcliffe, driver of the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda for Andretti Autosport. As Hinchcliffe ticks another year off this year, we figure it would be a good time to look back and see how he’s grown in…
Dec 5, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
Virgin Racing has signed up with the new FIA Formula E Championship as the series’ ninth team. Alex Tai will operate the squad as team principal and the effort has the full support and backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Virgin has spent some of its large sum in motorsports before, as a partner…
Dec 5, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
There’s no rest for the weary in the Formula One world when it comes down to chassis design for their 2014 cars, to comply with the new regulations. Dell, a partner with the Caterham F1 Team, released this brief video where the team’s performance director, John Iley, discusses just how much these regulation changes are…
Dec 5, 2013, 11:45 AM EST
Jimmie Johnson, like the rest of the NASCAR fraternity, is in Las Vegas this week for Champion’s Week. Johnson has six Sprint Cup championships, and 66 career wins. And in the above picture he posted to his Instagram page, Johnson is trying to win the Internet. He’s doing his best imitation of the crew from…
Dec 5, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Finishing third in the…
Dec 5, 2013, 10:45 AM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Next up, the championship…
Dec 5, 2013, 10:00 AM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Let’s get started with…
Dec 5, 2013, 9:00 AM EST
Over the last month and a half since the 2013 IndyCar Series season wrapped at Auto Club Speedway, we’ve had a plethora of posts here on MotorSportsTalk looking back at the 19 races, drivers, teams and story lines. However, we would expect that you probably have missed one here or there. Well never fear, because…
Dec 4, 2013, 9:22 PM EST
Only a little more than a week ago, Josh Wise announced he was leaving Front Row Motorsports’ third car. On Wednesday, it was confirmed he’ll stay in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with another fledgling operation, Phil Parsons Racing. The team announced Wise’s signing and a switch from Ford to Chevrolet for the black No. 98…
Dec 4, 2013, 7:09 PM EST
Today’s test session at Sebring International Raceway began a new era of sorts for Chip Ganassi Racing, which tested together with Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan (pictured, No. 8) and new engine supplier Chevrolet for the first time on-track. Team managing director Mike Hull is optimistic about what both can bring to the team after…
Dec 4, 2013, 4:25 PM EST
Today, the NBC Sports Group announced Rick Allen, known by many NASCAR fans as the TV voice of the Camping World Truck Series, has signed a multi-year agreement to become the new lead announcer for NBC’s upcoming Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series coverage that begins in 2015. “I’ve had the good fortune to work with…
Dec 4, 2013, 4:04 PM EST
The all-electric FIA Formula E championship has announced a 10-race schedule for its inaugural 2014-2015 season that will start September 13, 2014 in Beijing. As expected, two North American races are part of the docket. For Round 6, F-E will look to win the hearts of Los Angeles race fans on Valentine’s Day, February 14,…
Dec 4, 2013, 3:00 PM EST
This morning’s release of the final 2014 F1 schedule revealed that the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas had moved up one week to Nov. 2, 2014. But on that very weekend, a few hours up the road in Fort Worth, all three NASCAR national series will be competing…
Dec 4, 2013, 2:15 PM EST
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles may have given us an glimpse into IndyCar’s near-future yesterday at the 2013 Motorsports Marketing Forum in Las Vegas. SportsBusiness Daily’s Josh Carpenter reports several interesting tidbits from Miles during his interview at the Forum, including the revelation of potential new international markets such as the Middle East, South…
Dec 4, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Two days ago, Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan had some fun seeing his face on the Borg-Warner Trophy for the first time. But today, he and his new teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing are putting in work. Kanaan (pictured), reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, and American driver Charlie Kimball are testing at Sebring International…
Dec 4, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
My MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and I looked at the 28 IndyCar drivers who raced in seven starts or more this year in detail. The remaining drivers in spots 28-39 all had their moments in their four starts or less (29th, Ana Beatriz, was covered in a separate post after running in seven races). My…
Dec 4, 2013, 11:45 AM EST
Shortly after the FIA released its finalized 2014 Formula One schedule minus the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey, race organizers got out a statement saying that the group is working on “restructured financial arrangements” to ensure that the event will go off in 2015. Today marks the second year in a row that…
Dec 4, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at…
- GP of America organizers issue statement on race postponement (10)
- Eddie Gossage: “Foolish move” by F1 to go head-to-head with NASCAR at Texas (10)
- NASCAR Sprint Cup silly season update for 2014 (8)
- IndyCar TV sked for 2014 released; 13 races to be shown on NBCSN (8)
- Stewart: There’s “a lot of potential” for Danica Patrick (7)