SBD/Issue 236/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

NHRA's Force Creating "Stimulus" Package For Existing Sponsors

Force Offering Sponsors "Stimulus" Package
In Exchange For Contract Extensions
NHRA team owner/driver John Force is creating his own stimulus package for his sponsors, which include Ford, Castrol, BrandSource, Auto Club of Southern California, Sanyo and others. Force says his teams, which run on a combined budget of $22M, will save between $1-1.5M this season, and he wants to return that money to his sponsors in exchange for extensions to their contracts. "I sat down and looked at what Obama did -- I ain't saying it's going to work -- but he brought up 'stimulus,' and the word 'stimulus' makes sense to me," Force said Tuesday in Charlotte at zMax Dragway's announcement that it will host a second NHRA event in '10. "I've got contracts with these sponsors and I don't have to do this, but instead of waiting for a company to go Chapter 11, why don't I try to help them. By the end of the year, I'll have sheets documented where we've cut money." A reduction in testing will represent a majority of the savings, Force said. The teams also are saving about $100,000 by warming up their cars on alcohol instead of nitro fuel, and team members are doubling up on hotel rooms and flying coach instead of first class. "We're changing the way we blew the money," Force said. "Life was good, but we've had to re-evaluate. It's tough. Things might be getting better, but we're not going to get back to where we were years ago." Force also said his team members are no longer renting cars when they travel. Instead, they go to a local Ford dealership for courtesy cars in exchange for appearances. Additionally, Force said he would like to see NHRA's HQs in Glendora, California, move to Indianapolis or Charlotte because those cities are the hubs for motorsports business.

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