NASCAR is showing off its new wheels this week.
The sanctioning body is taking its Gen 6 cars on a multicity road show to fuel anticipation of their Sprint Cup Series debut at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 24. The cars will visit Detroit; New York City; ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Conn.; and possibly Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The road show is part of NASCAR’s “Project Ignition” initiative, a campaign designed to promote the first new Cup cars since 2007. The cars were designed to resemble the showroom versions of the Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry, and NASCAR hopes the change restores manufacturer rivalries in the sport.
“There’s been a lot of preparation for the car, and the next phase of that is to bring it to the masses and let the fans see it and touch it,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s chief marketing officer. “By the time we get to Daytona, there won’t be an average or casual fan who won’t know we have a new car.”
The road show begins Tuesday in Detroit, where the cars and NASCAR President Mike Helton will appear at a media roundtable hosted by Auto Week. They will be hauled to ESPN’s campus the next day for an appearance by 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski on several shows. Then they will go to New York to join Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he appears Friday on “Good Morning America” and Fox News.
Visits to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other cities were being arranged as of press time last week. The tour will end Feb. 13 or 14 in Daytona Beach, Fla., for Speedweeks.
Sunoco signed on to sponsor the road show last month. It is making an incremental spend for the sponsorship and is providing fuel for haulers and the race cars. The haulers will stop at Sunoco facilities along the way.
“We always try to bring NASCAR to life for our customer base and our 5,000 retail facilities,” said Drew Kabakoff, Sunoco’s brand marketing manager. “To have the cars stopping at Sunoco facilities was very exciting for our company, and to have this on social media is very exciting for us.”