Crown Royal Could Play Bigger Role In NASCAR Than Thought In '12 After IMS Deal
Crown Royal Senior Brand Manager Heather Boyd said that it was “still possible the company could play a bigger role than expected” in NASCAR next season, and becoming title sponsor of the Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 “will achieve part of the company's goal,” according to Michael Marot of the AP. Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials Wednesday signed a deal making Crown Royal the title sponsor of the Brickyard 400 beginning next year. The race will be renamed the Crown Royal "Your Hero's Name Goes Here" 400 at the Brickyard, and the company “plans to hold a contest to select the fan's name that will be incorporated into the title, as it did previously” at Richmond Int’l Raceway (RIR). The company sponsored the Cup race at RIR the last six years. Boyd said, "We'll continue to look for ways to partner with Richmond as we move forward, but at this time, we're focusing on the Brickyard." The company last month said that “it would drop its sponsorship of Roush Fenway Racing after this season, and parent company Diageo said it would not renew its deal as an official NASCAR partner.” Diageo North American Whisky VP Yvonne Briese in a statement said, “This partnership gives us the chance to take our national program to the next level at one of the most historic venues in motorsports” (AP, 7/28). Boyd said that the company “had 17,000 people vote in the naming rights contest” last year. Boyd: “As we looked at opportunities, the stage here is something that we feel that is so special and so powerful with its history and with the iconicness of the track -- that with the combination of being able to elevate the awareness of what we’re trying to do with honor heroes is something that will be beneficial for both parties” (SCENEDAILY.com, 7/28). RIR President Dennis Bickmeier in a statement said that he is “confident the track can find another race sponsor” (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 7/29).
THE NAME GAME: IMS President & CEO Jeff Belskus indicated that he did not think that next year’s race name would be too long. Belskus: “We worked with Crown Royal on that and I’m comfortable with what we’ve got” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/29).