Atlanta - Fall 2001
In November 2001 I enjoyed a unique racing experience courtesy of UPS and ICAR and arranged for by my brother. I had pit passes for the entire weekend as well as access to a private condominium for qualifying and a suite for the races. It was an unbelievable experience.
While there I had the opportunity to speak with a very highly ranked official from UPS who told me that their primary motivation in getting involved with NASCAR® was to give their own staff a common focal point and something to be proud of and that any commercial value they realized was secondary. They have indeed realized incredible marketing value for their investment as evidenced by the sea of UPS clothing seen at a Winston Cup Race but I found the focus on employees to be refreshing, not to mention clever.
I had never really looked at the reasons for a company to get involved as a sponsor before but I see it in a completely new light now. There are many, many companies involved in NASCAR® on a daily basis whose colours you might never see on a car and many of them seem to share the opinion that their own staff get more out of the program than the customers do.
what it's worth, here is one customer and fan who is eternally
grateful for a fantastic experience.
Actually no, it's my nephew Cody and Matt Martin, but it is an apt comparison when you look at their sizes. This is Matt's Bandelero car which he runs at Charlotte and Atlanta. Matt is no stranger to PR and fans. He is a very well spoken and gracious young man.
NASCAR fans get up early, even for an ARCA race.
The Legends and Bandalero cars run on a small, flat track made up of parts of the front straight and pit road.
Seriously, this is THE WAY to watch the races. With a fully functional kitchen and private washroom complete with a shower this is as good as watching from home, but when you sit on the couch down by the glass and open the windows to hear the cars run it gets even better. The 42" wide screen TV is a handy item to have at the track too.
While suffering the serious impediment of not being able hear or smell the stock cars on the track our seats were actually without compare. Ample waiters were available at a nod to bring any of at least a dozen snacks, treats or meals available throughout the day. The bar full of cold beer on the way to (and from) the ensuite washrooms may have had some impact on my opinion but I think the bar chairs with armrests (below) are what really made the difference.
The Gordon fans among us enjoyed the post race show as Jeff Gordon clinched his fourth title. In spite of that it was a great race.
ARCA pit cart, note the helmets on top; enough for the whole crew.
Junie Donlavey's ARCA pit cart