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Volume 20 No. 41
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Logano sees picture perfect opportunity for studio

Originally enamored by the idea of building a production studio in his shop to better serve his sponsors and be more comfortable during shoots, entrepreneurial NASCAR driver Joey Logano has since embarked on making the effort a fully fledged business venture.

With a sleek website and social media accounts, Logano’s Clutch Studios in Huntersville, N.C., is being marketed to the motorsports industry in North Carolina and other local sports teams and businesses.

“We were talking about different ways to enhance our relationships with our partners, and right now content is king,” said Warren Vigus, Logano’s business manager. “We were like, ‘What if there’s a way to create new content with our partners so it’s more on brand with who Joey is as a driver, and more comfortable for Joey when he’s here.’ It’s a unique platform because the sponsor can bring in their creative and marketing agencies and understand who Joey is by seeing his building, rather than Joey just going into a studio and he walks in there as a guest.”

NASCAR drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski work on a shoot at Clutch Studios. Logano launched the venture last year at his shop outside Charlotte.

Vigus said the primary focus when the venture started late last year was about serving Logano’s partners, but the idea has since taken off into serving outside businesses.

The 8,000-square-foot indoor facility north of Charlotte is tucked into the back of Logano’s shop, which he has owned for six years. It sits on 26 acres (where Logano often goes off-roading), and is filled with his memorabilia and classic cars. It features a green screen, props such as a pit wall, furniture made from car parts, rooms for private meetings and lounges.

Customers over the first few months have mostly been Logano’s partners in Shell-Pennzoil, AAA and Autotrader, along with Kelley Blue Book. The team Logano races for, Team Penske, has used the studio for its IndyCar drivers. LiftMaster used the space for a shoot with its driver, Kasey Kahne, and a golfer it sponsors, J.B. Holmes.

Clutch charges roughly $1,500 for a full-day shoot for Logano’s partners, and closer to $2,000 for outside companies. Competitors include Hammerhead Entertainment, which was founded in 2004 by fellow NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“Originally it was kind of, ‘OK, let’s just do our stuff and we’ll see how it goes,’ but it’s kicked off to where we’re getting business outside of our personal partners,” the 26-year-old Logano said last month.

Logano, who does about a dozen ad shoots a year, was talking in between shooting scenes for a spot for Autotrader. A few minutes before, he and fellow Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski were laughing wildly while playing shuffleboard as the production team set up another shot. The studio also has pingpong and air hockey tables.

“These shoots aren’t a lot of fun, but it makes it better when you’re in a nice environment and we’ve got games out there,” Logano said. “If the talent’s happy, it seems to keep the momentum going with everyone.”

Heidi Massey-Bong, Shell’s senior business adviser of NASCAR sponsorship, said Shell has found the studio makes Logano more comfortable during shoots, allowing his personality to “shine through a little more.” She’s also used the studio for confidential contract extension talks with Team Penske.

“I like the fact that Joey is trying to diversify himself,” Massey-Bong said. “He kind of found something that fits his needs and then provides a service to others.”