NASCAR: Humble Beginnings To Marketing Gold Mine

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On-car marketing has made NASCAR racing a big business. This effective form of advertising has elevated stock car racing from its humble beginnings to a multi-million dollar industry and an American tradition.

NASCAR had humble beginnings that grew from illegal over the road racing.  These early events were organized as friendly competitons amongst moonshine runners for the honor of boasting the fastest car around.

These fledgling events pulled out all the stops and the only rules were pretty much this: There were no rules.  Junior Johnson is pictured above with his fabuluously restored legendary bootleg runner called the Midnight Moon.

Junior originally ran moonshine during the prohibition but after it was appealed,he went on to become the first NASCAR driver icon.

Once it became obvious that this new sport began attracting crowds at local racetracks, many drivers began to paint advertisements on their cars in order to offset the cost of building and maintaing their cars.  Unlike today, drivers were lucky to receive a trophy and a small amount of cash for winning a race.

The crash at Daytona in 1960 is certainly the biggest in history and occurred on one of the new super tracks that had been completed earlier that year.  Thirty seven cars were involved in the massive wreck.  Whether it was caused by flaws in the design of the track of human error will never be known.

Contemporary cars are usually sponsored by automobile industry related corporations such as NAPA.  By doing so, the cost of building, maintaining and transporting the cars, as well as compensating their drivers, which can also be written of as a business expense.  Basically, the concept is a win-win situation making race events a win-win situation for sponsors.

Today, NASCAR events are pure marketing heaven. Car related industries are making a fortune by crashing in on on-car marketing because they benefit from a captive audience that meets their demographic criteria.  What makes this marketing method so effective is that not only does the endorser benefit but the drivers benefit as well.


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Every driver has a huge number of fans. How well a driver races each season has a great deal to do with how interested advertisers are in seeing them endorse their products. What is interesting is that many NASCAR drivers see more income from endorsements than from the races themselves. They are so closely associated with these endorsements that we often refer to a car by their main endorser. One example is the Michael Waltrip, who drives the NAPA car.

With over $50 million in marketing sales being seen per year due to NASCAR sporting events, it is a certainty that the four P’s (product, pricing, place and promotion) are being utilized better in the NASCAR arena making it one of the most lucrative advertising venues today.


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