NASCAR: “Fresh From Florida” group re-ups with Richard Petty Motorsports

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Richard Petty Motorsports will once again have backing from the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Marketing Services’ “Fresh From Florida” campaign in 2015.

The Fresh From Florida colors will serve as primary sponsor on the No. 43 RPM Ford Fusion of Aric Almirola for two races next season: Atlanta Motor Speedway in March and Talladega Superspeedway in May.

Additionally, Fresh From Florida will have associate placement on the No. 43 at six other Sprint Cup tracks (Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond, Charlotte, Kentucky and Darlington) and support Almirola in both NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Daytona International Speedway (February and July).

“We saw great success with the ‘Fresh From Florida’ motorsports campaign last year after developing a complete media, retail, event marketing and motorsports event plan which impacted millions of consumers throughout Florida and the Southeast,” said Mike Hargrave, RPM’s chief marketing officer, in a statement.

“This partnership proved fruitful for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by delivering a message regarding the superior quality of Florida products. Through this program, the vast motorsports fan base is better educated when purchasing fresh seafood, produce and other products produced in the state of Florida. We look forward to supporting and executing this program in 2015.”

RPM’s marketing arm will also assist Fresh From Florida with at-track relationships at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Sebring International Raceway, where it will serve as presenting sponsor for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The “Fresh From Florida” campaign has been partners with RPM since 2013. This past year, it was the primary sponsor for Almirola at Darlington, where he finished 24th.

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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