Today, Ingersoll Rand has been announced as the Official Power Tools of NASCAR, which formalizes a relationship one of the global leaders of reliable and innovative power tools has had with the sanctioning body since the 1950s.
The agreement will also see Ingersoll Rand named as an official partner for IMSA, and a contingency sponsor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series.
Ingersoll Rand’s mission, among other things over the course of this new five-year partnership, is to further recognize both current and the next generation of crews and also to further work to integrate NASCAR’s fan base with the tools themselves.
“We have a long history in racing, going back to when in 1959 we introduced the thunder gun, which is used by most of the pit crews today,” John Evans, President, Ingersoll Rand power tools, told MotorSportsTalk in an interview.
“There is a desire about high performance cars, whether you’re in the pits or working on an assembly plant, where people want a high performance tool. We have a lot of demographic evidence to support that.”
“They’ve really been a constant force in the garage, so this is a natural extension of their involvement,” added Jim O’Connell, chief sales officer, NASCAR. “They’ve been organically involved. Then they want to get the same message out to fans and consumers.
“We understand fans think about sponsorship differently than any other sport. They are apt to try the products because they support our sport, and NASCAR gives them the seal of approval. We believe in them. It’s a great fit of a product used in our sport, used by people watching our sport.”
The grassroots level, within the Touring & Weekly Series, will see a more tangible fan-first approach as part of the new partnership.
One of Ingersoll Rand’s new programs is its new Home Tracks Text-to-Win contest for fans at tracks throughout the season. Fans will have opportunities to win an Ingersoll Rand prize pack and meet-and-greets with pit crews and other high-profile racing and automotive personalities.
“Fans have the opportunity to test on the actual tools used by the pit crew members,” Evans said. “So that will include changing the tires, matching wits.
“We have some folks on our team that used to be in crews. It helps create a family atmosphere. That helps everyone kind of get the feel of racing. Folks that go to races already have some of that.”
“This extends our ties to the sport,” said Brian Welborn, global channel marketing leader, Ingersoll Rand. “Our focus is beyond the Sprint Cup, with the Home Tracks part of it. This is us getting back to the roots of racing, and being part of the Home Tracks communities.”
Welborn expanded on the Sprint Cup contingency program and IMSA official partnership.
“Part of our contingency program for Sprint Cup is to celebrate the crew chiefs and mechanics,” Welborn explained. “The ‘Power Move Award’ is what we’re calling it. This gives us a chance to celebrate those folks.
“The IMSA tie-in will involve our vision for how we participate in racing. We have a team we sponsor in Rebel Rock Racing. With sports cars, fans tend to focus on the car brands more than teams and drivers. So this will be about customer engagement and getting fans out there in a great atmosphere.”
O’Connell said further activation plans beyond what is being announced today – including with both of NASCAR’s TV partners for 2015 in FOX and NBC – are still being determined, but expected to progress.
One of Welborn’s other notes was about a crew chief that stood out for him, in the form of Kevin Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers.
“My first kind of entrée to crews, as I have only been part of the show for a couple years, came during champion’s week when we got an intro to Rodney Childers. He’s a great guy. The more we are introduced to these guys in the sport really helps fit with our brand, to be authentic and real.”