A good month for Tony on and off the track. (LAT photo)
As a co-owner and driver of Stewart-Haas Racing, there is competition on the track and there is competition off the track, too. A big part of my job is to make sure we run up front in both departments. On the track, we need to run well every week and, off the track, we need to make sure the team has the funding and the sponsorships to perform at its best and secure the well-being of the 200-plus people who work here.
The competition among NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams to land sponsors is every bit as fierce as the battles on the track, but it's something we have to succeed at if we want to keep our team strong and secure. Every day, when one of my crew guys here at SHR walks by me, I'm reminded that I'm responsible for that guy, his family, his children, everything. If I screw up somewhere and don't secure the finances for this team, then at the end of the day, it's going to affect those guys. It's hard to imagine letting that happen.
And that's why we're so proud that ExxonMobil and its Mobil 1 brand are coming on board next next year to co-sponsor the No. 14 SHR Chevrolet Impala with Office Depot.
ExxonMobil has been a part of motorsports for over 30 years now. They're committed to excellence and winning. We're very excited about the opportunity to work with Mobil 1 and have a partner that is so committed to not only the brand marketing but at the same time making our cars and our program better and giving us a better opportunity to win. To have a company of this caliber believe in Stewart-Haas Racing and believe in our program and what we're trying to accomplish, personally, it feels great for me. It's an exciting time for us.
It's especially good to get the support of ExxonMobil at a time when the economy remains challenging. But this is still a series that doesn't stop, no matter how bad the economy is. These teams are going to push forward and there are partners like Mobil 1 who know how important not only NASCAR racing, but racing in general, is to their product.
So it brings a lot of pride knowing how hard the economy is right now and how tough the times are to be able to bring Mobil 1 into Stewart-Haas Racing and the comfort that they've given us at this time of the year by helping us with our partnership. Hopefully we can return that favor to them.
We also want to thank Old Spice, who was a great partner with us for 11 years. We don't turn over a lot of partners, something I'm very proud of. Old Spice wasn't unhappy with what we were doing, but they had a new guy come in and he wanted to go in a different direction. How can we be mad about that? We joined Gene Haas' operation to take it in a different direction. We've been partners with them for 11 years and they've been very good to us, so thank you, Old Spice.
The addition of Mobil 1 means we're in good shape on the No. 14 car now. This has fulfilled what we're looking for to fill the void for Old Spice next year. It allows us to now put that project behind us. We're still looking for new partners; you never stop in that area. You're always looking to bring new people into the sport and always seeking associate sponsors.
On Ryan's car, we're still looking for some associate sponsorship also, but we're very happy that Tornados and U.S. Army are coming back again. It's great to have recent partners that have come into the sport and who are excited and happy with what we're doing and want to return.
On the promoter side of the business – one of my many hats – I'm also fired up about my involvement with the upcoming International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS), Dec. 1-3, at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. The three-day IMIS event offers individuals and companies from all facets of the racing industry the chance to interact, share ideas and products, build relationships and attend seminars to improve motorsports business around the world, all while showcasing Indianapolis as the “Racing Capital of the World.”
I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I know where my heart lies and where my passion lies and, at heart, I'm a racer. I'm a race fan, a car owner, a promoter and a track owner. My life is consumed with racing. I wouldn't have it any other way. And that's why I'm so excited to be associated with IMIS, which is really a show for the hardcore, grass-roots racers.
To have the demand for the show and to have it where we're having it is really cool. And there is a huge demand for what we're doing, which you can tell by the fact that we've already completely sold out of booth space, which is really cool. The people coming to IMIS aren't just people who show and walk through another trade show. They are hardcore racers and they are attending for a reason. One of the event's highlights will be our two-day Safety Technical Conference on Nov. 29-30. Geoff Bodine will be the keynote speaker.
We are very much looking forward to this event and hope you can join us, too. IMIS is where racers go to learn more, get connected and go faster. Check out our website at www.imis-indy.com