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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Some view the NASCAR Developmental Series, which include the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, as stock car racing’s equivalent of Minor League Baseball. So, when the two series had some of their stars venture to LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass. – home of the short-season single-A baseball team, the Lowell Spinners –for NASCAR Night, the unlikely pairing have more in common than you think.

“They sold out [LeLacheur Park] nine years in a row. It’s great that we have a relationship with them,” says Jason Christley, Manager of Communications for NASCAR’s Developmental Series. “It works perfectly because their goals are the same as ours.”

The goals are two-fold. First, the stars of the Lowell Spinners and of the NASCAR Developmental Series have something in common.

“[The NASCAR Developmental Series drivers] are trying to do the same thing that the single-A ballplayers are doing –make a name for themselves,” says Christley. “[The Spinners] have a lot of alumni – like Jonathan Papelbon and Kevin Youkilis – that have come through here. Last year, we had Matt DiBenedetto [of the K&N Pro Series] and now he’s in Nationwide. So, it’s a natural connection.”

While the stars of the two sports have similar ties, Jon Goode, the Vice President of Communications for the Lowell Spinners, reminds us that the fans are similar, too.

“The crossover [between the two sports] is the consumer,” says Goode. “It’s a fan. It’s someone who wants a night out – whether it’s going up to Loudon or coming out to the Spinners tonight. It’s the person that wants to get out, be social. That’s who we go after and I’m sure that’s who NASCAR goes after, too.”

Christley’s message is on par with Goode’s.

“The bottom line is we entertain the fans,” says Christley, “and our on-track product is proven to be highly entertaining [as well as being] fan-friendly, family-friendly, and reasonably priced.”

In today’s economy, Goode stresses the emphasis of providing more bang for your customer’s buck.

“Families work hard, especially in this economy, and they value the dollar,” says Goode. “You have to give them a reason to spend that dollar. If they feel they are getting a huge value, that’s how you’re going to have that success.”

In addition to the economy, Christley says that today’s environment provides a challenge to promotion.

“What worked five, three, or two years ago, may not work now,” says Christley. “That’s why we’re working with tracks, the Lowell Spinners, and other outlets – you just have to keep pushing.

“It’s a matter of making people more aware, and it’s an evolving process. The media promotion that may have worked in the past may not work anymore because fans’ attention spans have shifted to the next thing. It’s up to us to work on the next thing.”

Christley says that NASCAR has had great success using its greatest asset to promote the series – the drivers themselves.
“Six years ago, we would have four to five drivers signing autographs on the midway,” says Christley. “Now, pretty much every race we go to, schedule-permitting, we have every driver out there signing autographs. It is really important to get everybody involved in that.”

It’s this involvement that Goode feels is what NASCAR can provide its fans on NASCAR Night.

“We have some great drivers signing some autographs,” says Goode. “We have some cars out front. We let some drivers get involved on the field. Ultimately, we have a bunch of stuff going on geared to the family.”

Thus, adding more value for Goode’s customers and the NASCAR Developmental Series in turn gets its name out to potential new fans – a winning combination..

  Source: J.A. Ackley / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 23, 2010

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