The Desk Main Page

Auto Racing Sponsorship for those who work for a living

AND part two....

The drama of pit 18

©10 The Media Desk

[NOTE: see content information below. thank you]

      The story began as a note on Facebook. An old acquaintance contacted the Desk through one of the Desk's former bosses. A sponsor of a Nationwide Series car was looking for a photographer, and the Desk's wife happens to be one (see link to her site at end of part 2). The resulting email exchange involved submitting information to NASCAR for credentials that didn't come through until Friday afternoon for Saturday morning. Something "far beyond" the "last minute", but it worked!
      The primary goal of the mission was to get some good photos of the sponsor's car with their logo on the hood, in action if possible. The second reason is... well, this. The Desk promised the lady at the sponsor that it would write it up as a photoessay and mention the sponsor several times!
      Well. OK. Here goes.

      The sponsor was (links at end of part 2 to outside entities and to the Photo Pages). had purchased single event advertising on Jeremy Clements' number 04 Impala in the Nationwide series 200 mile race at Dover from, for Jeremy's first run at the Dover track. Did I mention that the sponsor was
      The usual sponsor is Boudreaux's Butt Paste who has been in the sport for about five years or so, but for today, and probably at other races as well, they will step back to the associate spot and let ride on the hood. We'll come back to how this all works and where figures in later. (is that enough sponsor plugs for now? if not there's more on photo page 2).

      First things first. Who is Jeremy Clements? (see photo on the photo page as well)
      Well, the twenty-something Jeremy comes to racing naturally. It is, to coin a phrase, in his blood. His grandfather was Crawford Clements who, with his brother Louis, produced racing engines and owned a race team during the Golden Age of NASCAR through the sixties and into the seventies. Later Crawford focused his family business on producing top-flight engines for the various Sportsman's racing series. Which they still do today.
      Today, the family is actively back in racing with a Jeremy as the public face of the effort driving the Zero Four. And it really is still a family business with the Clements name throughout the crew on race day as well as on the driver suit. Team owner Tony Clements is a spotter on race day while Glen Clements is one of the mechanics, both at the track and in the shop.
      We'll look at them in depth in a moment.

      Next. What's the idea with a one day sponsorship like did?
      Well, simple economics and a chance to get the best return for the best price. Which makes good business sense.
      The idea behind is to give smaller businesses and even individuals a chance to participate as a sponsor of a racecar or truck without the commitment, and the heavy checkbook, a season-long or even partial season sponsorship deal involves.
      For a fully sponsored car to take to the track on any given Saturday, the team, and owner, must come up with somewhere on the order of a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Which is, of course, why you only see big named companies who are the sole sponsors of a Nationwide Series car. Other companies often co-sponsor a car, rotating their logos on the prime camera spots on the car such as the hood, rear quarter panels, and above the back bumper (the aptly named "TV panel"), the spots on the car most recognizable on television and to the people in the stands.
      In NASCAR's top series, a season-long contract can cost a company a million dollars a race for the thirty six race circuit. The second tier series isn't quite as pricey, but you are still talking some serious money. Money that is becoming harder and harder to come by, especially for some of the "also ran" teams.

      OK, a brief look at the business side of the sport.
      For many years the sponsors mantra for racing was "win on Sunday, sell on Monday", and it worked. Motor oil, beer, automotive parts, the auto brands themselves all thrived as their names were repeatedly featured on the screen during the race. The minutes of national TV and radio advertising gleaned from sponsoring the car was worth more than the cost of the sponsorship, not only during the race itself, but during sports segments. Not to mention the bonus of having photos of the car in the newspaper and magazines. And that wasn't only for the winner. If your car was involved in a spectacular wreck, such as a barrel roll down the back stretch, there was a chance that the clip would make a 'greatest hits' type of segment and be played and replayed long after the season was over. And you cannot put a price on having your logo emblazoned on something being shown in a slow motion pirouette set to music.
      But that was then.
      Now sponsors are crunching the numbers and looking to get a more guaranteed return on their advertising dollars. Customer tracking is an exact science, especially when the economy isn't healthy. And, truth be told, NASCAR has run into some rough times, mostly self-inflicted.

      Right here might be the place to mention the sharp downturn in the fan base of the series.
      For several seasons in a row, NASCAR made some decisions that left fans totally baffled and hurt the broader support of the series. "Yellow fever" became something of a game some fans turned to because the racing itself wasn't as good as it ought to be, the idea being how many laps of green flag racing would be run before a yellow flag came out for reasons that were sometimes totally unexplainable. The favorite being 'debris' on the track that was invisible to TV cameras. Another recurring theme being the so called "competition caution" that broke the natural flow of the race so that the teams could check tire wear.
      Other decisions impacted the way the drivers competed. There were so many changes to the cars that it turned what used to be a "stock car" (based on something that was sitting in a dealer's showroom) into a bumper to bumper custom built machine with no relationship at all to anything the public could buy.
      And, all taken together and combined with other factors over time, it has hurt the sport's popularity

      Advertising departments look closely at the TV ratings, numbers of seats sold per event, and so on. They are also critically aware of how many other sports are out there competing for fan's attention, and ever-tighter discretionary budgets.
      In the weak economy people were spending their dollars more wisely. Which cut into the market share of the name brand products and services that sponsor the racecars. Instead of a national brand of whateveritmaybe, people were buying the store brand, or a local product or service, or even making their own. They were also not going to events with high priced tickets, where they had to travel sometimes hundreds of miles, and then pay premium prices for parking, food, and other services. Attendance at some tracks dropped to under half of their peak. Sell-outs were all but unheard of where they had been the norm. It got so bad that some tracks that used to bost about attendance figures now will not release them.
      Soon, long term sponsors were scaling back their support or pulling out all together. Those that stayed wanted more appearances by drivers and showcars and other support from the team for their sponsorship.
      Once ubiquitous names to the sport were suddenly finding other things to do with their money.
      High-dollar operations soon found themselves laying off employees and dropping subsidiary programs. Others began scrambling to find associate sponsors,

      Which is where RaceDaySponsor and RepairableVehicles come in.

      RaceDaySponsor has cut a couple of cars up into bite sized chunks, no we're not kidding, they call them "Micro Sponsors". They've broken the 04 and the 56 cars up into zones down to spots that are four inches high by either five or seven inches long and made them available for five hundred dollars a race.
      Of course they have larger sections of the car available, for more money, multiple race packages, and more, all the way up to full sponsorship of the car for a race or two, and every possible combination thereof, all to meet the sponsor's budget.
      You can get the prime spot on the car, the hood, for one race, without breaking your budget for the year. And then, if it works out, you can do it again, because there's lots of races on the schedule!

      It was a deal that RepairableVehicles took. See the Photo Page for the result. is literally something of a perpetual "scratch and dent" sale for cars. Well, OK, some of these cars have a bit more of a problem than a 'scratch' or a 'dent', but when you're looking at getting a low mileage car of the current model year for half the price of a pristine model, what's a mashed quarter panel or busted door amongst friends? The key is in the name, it is 'repairable', and it's an even bet that a large section of their customer base is people who buy these cars, fix them, paint them, and then sell them at a hefty markup.
      They get their cars from dealers and insurance companies. Some are leased vehicles that were in a mishap and then written off by the lease-holder. Others come to them through law enforcement seizures and so on. None are what anybody would call 'cherry', but all can be made almost as good as new with some work, and a bit of paint. Kinda like RaceDaySponsors other car itself, see the photo page.
      But selling slightly mashed cars with the understanding that you're buying something that needs work, and sometimes quite a bit of work, before it will ever be a daily driver again isn't a high profit undertaking. Yes they sell a lot of cars, but the margin isn't such that they could run out and drop a check on a team for a full year package as the primary sponsor.
      So somebody at the repairable place called somebody at the raceday place and they struck a deal.
      Oh yes, deals are to be had. Especially if there's an unfilled space on the car and there's another partial sponsor or a handful of micros or what have you and a lot of yellow paint that needs covered. In such cases, RaceDaySponsor can and will perform magic.
      The idea is that if you buy in, and get noticed, and the experience benefits your business, you'll call them again at some point. Which also makes good business sense.

      And it is a safe bet that as more major sponsors back off being the sole name on their cars, there will be more options for associate sponsorship on various ones. Which means more teams may come knocking on RaceDay's door. Which may save some teams from running limited schedules or even calling it off all together.
      Now, that's not to say that a team that signs up with will find the golden egg-laying goose of a sponsor that will instantly turn them into one of the top teams in the sport. No. That's not the way it works. But it may help keep the lights on in the shop.
      Again, if a sponsor is impressed with the return on their investment... you never know where it'll lead, do you?

      Now back to the team fielded by the Clements family.
      This is NOT one of the fancy teams with the two story "war wagon" tool box on pit road and a super fancy semi-truck car hauler (see picture pages for a study in contrasts on the subject). The 04 pit road toolbox looks like it was borrowed from an old 'ma and pa' truck stop for the weekend. Some of their 'over the wall' crew was borrowed from another team, but such is the spirit of cooperation and teamwork for the good of the sport that is still found between most of the teams in the garage. (as to whether that spirit extends to the officials of the series is a topic for another time)
      But it all works, they've finished in the top 20 several times this year!
      And this weekend they qualified and started the race. And that is all that mattered to the fans in the stands.

      Now- part TWO. What the Desk calls.... the Drama of Pit 18.

To Picture Page 1

[NOTE: For the day in question, the Desk, a Professional Freelance Journalist, was essentially working as a stringer to capture the overall essence of the event for the sponsor. This article and accompanying photo display pages are the results of that effort. All observations are by the Desk, all conclusions are his own, and may not represent anything in the real world from, by, or of anybody else.
    All photos were taken by either the Desk, or Mrs. Desk, who owns and controls the copyright of said images. All names and identifying marks, including the teams, the sponsors, the track, the sanctioning body, and everybody and everything else are owned by their respective owners and are used here as part of the event coverage. If any said entity objects to their inclusion by name, said words will be removed. If there are any questions or issues with the photos, said questions will be forwarded to Mrs. Desk. You may contact the Desk at: DrLeftover{!a~t!}TheMediaDesk{!d0t!}com (email scrambled due to spammer robots).
   The online presentation of this article and related photos is owned by, please see the following for further information:
    -thank you ]
To the Desk's the main page