SBD/May 25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

IndyCar Driver Ed Carpenter Partnering With Fuzzy's Vodka On Start-Up Team

Fuzzy Ultra Premium Vodka has sponsored Ed Carpenter for occasional races since '09
IndyCar driver Ed Carpenter will start Sunday's Indianapolis 500 in the No. 28 position, and he has partnered with sponsor Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka to "set up a team that ensures he has a drive in every race this season, and potentially creates a career path that stretches beyond his driving days,” according to Sam Mamudi of MARKETWATCH.com. It was a combination of his relationship with Fuzzy’s Vodka and the “withdrawal of Dollar General Corp. from sponsorship of his team last year, Sarah Fisher Racing, that prompted Carpenter to go looking for new backing last winter.” This ultimately led Carpenter “to the decision to start his own team,” Ed Carpenter Racing. Carpenter said of Fuzzy's Vodka, “They’d been sponsoring me for occasional races since 2009, and as we were talking about 2012, they raised the question of me starting a team.” Mamudi noted going from sponsoring a car for a few races, to backing an entire team “fit nicely with Fuzzy’s Vodka’s expansion strategy.” Carpenter said, “They were selling in 14 states back in 2009, and they’re going to be in 44 by the end of 2012.” The product, which was founded by golfer Fuzzy Zoeller, is "also the official vodka of IndyCar.” Ed Carpenter Racing has about 20 staff members this year, and Carpenter said that he "hopes to add more staff, and another car and driver, for the 2013 season, sponsorship revenue permitting.” He estimated that he would “need another $6 million for the expansion.” The team is led “on a day-to-day basis by general manager Derrick Walker” (MARKETWATCH.com, 5/23).

GREEN MACHINE
: In Ft. Worth, Carlos Mendez wrote IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe pilots the GoDaddy.com car that used to be driven by Danica Patrick, but Hinchcliffe prior to the '12 season had to be “sold to the car sponsor … which has a reputation for younger, techier drivers.” Hinchcliffe “puts his own video diaries on his own website (hinchtown.com) and is active on Twitter," and he proved to be a "fit for the web hosting company.” Hinchcliffe said, “GoDaddy had some interest based on what I'd been doing with my videos, and they saw me as somebody who was tech-savvy, which is their business, and a little bit off-the-wall, which is their modus operandi. I think it made a lot of sense. Once we got into it, it was clearer than ever that this absolutely was meant to be" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/22).
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