SBJ/March 19 - 25, 2007/This Weeks News

Ricky Carmichael sponsor Monster would jump from motorcycle to car with deal

Ginn Racing is finalizing a deal that is expected to put Ricky Carmichael’s chief Supercross sponsor, Monster Energy Drink, on the car for his first stock car race this weekend.

When Monster in January 2006 signed a reported two-year deal with Carmichael, widely regarded as the Michael Jordan of motorcycle racing, its marketers had no idea that he would be driving a vehicle with four wheels instead of two. But the move to stock car racing and possibly NASCAR broadens the audience for Monster, the No. 2 energy drink in sales behind Red Bull.

“What we like is it takes one of our personalities over to the more mainstream, corporate side of the world with Ricky’s NASCAR involvement,” said Scott Sepkovic, president and CEO of Crown Athlete Management Group, the procurement agency for Monster. “We want to stay on board and follow Ricky.”

Carmichael  signed a three-year developmental driver contract with Ginn Racing in October and will begin his stock car career with a Late Model race, the sport’s equivalent of Class A rookie ball, on Saturday night in Lake City, Fla. Carmichael closed his Supercross season last Saturday in Orlando.

Plans call for Carmichael to possibly move into NASCAR Craftsman Truck racing later this year.

But without a hard and fast schedule of races to sell, Ginn Racing is going with more of an a la carte approach to selling Carmichael’s ride.

“It’s hard to quantify what we’re doing because it’s not like we can say that there’s 36 races this year,” said Jay Frye, general manager of Ginn Racing, which fields Nextel Cup entries for Mark Martin, Joe Nemechek and Sterling Marlin. “I can tell you, though, that this Late Model race is going to be the most promoted Late Model race ever.”

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