SBJ/Dec. 16-22, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Dow to ride with famed No. 3

The Dow Chemical Co. has signed a multiyear sponsorship with Richard Childress Racing that will see it become primary sponsor of the No. 3 car driven by Austin Dillon in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.

Financial terms of the 16-race deal weren’t available, but Sprint Cup sponsorships with new drivers typically go for more than $400,000 a race. That would put the value of Dow’s deal at more than $6.4 million a year.

Driver Austin Dillon (left) with car owner Richard Childress
Photo by: NASCAR / GETTY IMAGES
The No. 3 car hasn’t appeared in a Sprint Cup race since Dale Earnhardt died in 2001, which could raise the value of the deal for such a high-profile car.

Dow Automotive Systems President Steve Henderson said multiple Dow business units will be featured on the No. 3 car during the season, including the automotive division, the agriculture group, and the building and construction unit.

“This is a business-driven program,” Henderson said. “It’s driven by businesses that want to participate in it. We see an opportunity to create a great return on investment.”

Dow will share primary sponsorships with General Mills and another company that hasn’t been announced yet. It may develop a NASCAR-related advertising campaign targeted to consumers, but the focus will be on business-to-business opportunities. The company plans to host key clients at races and have Dillon, Childress and others speak to their organization.

“It’s more than just Austin,” Henderson said of Childress’ 23-year-old grandson. “It’s the RCR organization … and the No. 3 coming back has an element of interest for us, as well. Just as [Austin’s] finding his legs in the highest level of NASCAR, so is Dow, so it’s a perfect relationship for us.”

Dow began formally working with RCR in 2010, when its automotive division began providing technology support to the team. RCR used lubrications and carbon-fiber products developed by Dow. The relationship expanded into a small sponsorship last season, when Dow sponsored the No. 31 car driven by Jeff Burton, and its Mycogen Seeds brand sponsored the No. 33 car driven by Dillon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We started slow and picked up steam in engaging our organization and customers,” Henderson said. “We found significant reasons to take another look [at a full sponsorship]. The opportunity to move to Cup and the No. 3 seemed excellent for us.”

Dow joins Yuengling and Wix Filters to become the latest in a string of deals signed by RCR for the 2014 season. The team lost driver Kevin Harvick for next year, and Harvick took sponsors Budweiser and Jimmy John’s with him to his new team, Stewart-Haas Racing. But RCR has been successful in replacing those sponsors.

RCR hired Stewart-Haas Racing’s former driver, Ryan Newman, and filled all of the primary sponsorships on his No. 31 car with Caterpillar, Quicken Loans, Wix Filters and Kwikset. It has primary spots left for six races on Dillon’s No. 3 car, said Rick Penn, RCR’s vice president of business development.

“We’ve brought in some really nice, robust sponsors,” Penn said. “From a primary perspective, we’re sitting in a good spot and we’ve focused on bringing in new sponsors.”

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