DETROIT (AP) — Rick Hendrick erased any doubt that marketing in motorsports is still effective when his automotive sales group bought the sponsorship rights through 2023 for NASCAR title contender Kyle Larson.
With few companies willing to back Larson upon his return from a nearly yearlong suspension for using a racial slur, Hendrick put the website for his dealerships on the hood of Larson’s car. Larson started winning races, which company officials say drove traffic to HendrickCars.com that netted $1.8 million in leads and over $5 million in television exposure.
“We’re having the best year we’ve ever had,” said Hendrick, owner of the largest privately held dealership in the country. “The market is blazing.”
When motorsports began to gain mainstream traction in the 1980s, the motto for auto dealers was always “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” But the economic downturn of 2008