New company allows NASCAR fans to sponsor former champion
(Corrects to show Kenny Wallace, not Rusty Wallace did a similar program)
A company launched by a NASCAR fan to allow fellow race lovers to collectively sponsor a car has signed up a former NASCAR champion driver as its first recipient.
FanCar said it will sponsor two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte and Carter/Simo racing at the Ford 400 race on Nov. 22 in Miami, the last race of the season. The company was launched by Texan and NASCAR fan Matt Ferguson last week.
“Our sport is struggling for sponsorship,” Ferguson said in a telephone interview. “There are way too many great drivers out there without sponsors.”
Smaller teams in NASCAR have cut jobs and merged this year to survive as corporate sponsors have cut spending amid the weak economy.
For $20, each fan will be able to vote on the car’s paint scheme as well as the overall message on the vehicle, and will receive their name on the car and a certificate of sponsorship and a digital photo of the car. Before Labonte’s involvement was announced, donations had come from Alaska, Massachusetts and Canada, Ferguson said.
Labonte (above, in 2007) has won 22 races in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career and was the series champion in 1984 and 1996. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers.
Ferguson said he did not know how much he has raised for Labonte because the response was so heavy after FanCar was announced that he turned off the email notifications he received on his BlackBerry cell phone every time someone made a donation.
NASCAR driver Rusty Kenny Wallace took a similar approach to sponsorship for a race in Canada earlier this year, raising about $100,000. Among the sponsors of his care were Lombardo Bail Bonds, AmmoSam, Repo Rob, MarriageJunkie.com, Iowabarns.com and a cat, according to reports.
Ferguson said all money raised goes to Labonte as he pays for his business through advertising on the website, as well as the sale of FanCar merchandise. The 32-year-old entrepreneur from College Station, Texas, added that he intends to continue the program next season and has been contacted by other car owners and race tracks about the program