WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—TBC Corp.'s Retail Division is expanding its burgeoning motorsports sponsorship activities this year, adding event and team sponsorship in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) season series to its previously announced backing of IndyCar Series team Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR).
The latest deal, to become the title sponsor of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway, comes on the heels of a deal to sponsor Johnny Gray Racing, a two-car Pro Stock team that will feature National Tire & Battery (NTB) logos on Johnny Gray's Pontiac GXP and Tire Kingdom and Big O Tires Inc. logos on rookie teammate Shane Gray's GXP.
Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales and marketing, called the Gatornationals sponsorship deal a “perfect fit for a Florida-based company,” and said the NHRA is confident the partnership will help TBC/Tire Kingdom “achieve its marketing objectives.”
TBC Senior Vice President Lynn Parker said, “We are convinced that our decision to team up with the NHRA will help us meet our marketing objectives.”
The March 11-14 Gatornationals was the third event in the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series in 2010. The race was televised by ESPN2 and ESPN2HD.
Terms of the deal with the NHRA and Johnny Gray Racing were not disclosed. Mr. Gray finished ninth last year in the NHRA Pro Stock championship.
Closer to home, Tire Kingdom became the official tire and auto service provider for Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) and title sponsor for ARCA's Tire Kingdom 150 on Feb. 27.
The event was ARCA's first appearance at PBIR and just the 12th road course race in ARCA's history, according to the race track. The facility's 2.03-mile road course features 11 turns.
TBC Retail Group President and CEO Orland Wolford called the ability to bring the ARCA Racing Series to Palm Beach County “a tremendous asset to local and regional businesses.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The final new piece of TBC's motorsports program is an agreement to make its Big O Tires and Tire Kingdom brands associate sponsors of up-and-coming racer Blake Koch as he races in NASCAR's K&N Pro Series West and Nationwide series, respectively.
Big O Tires' logo will appear on the No. 21 Chevrolet Impala SS campaigned by Golden Gate Racing Team for Mr. Koch at the 12 K&N Pro Series races this year in the west U.S. The San Francisco-based team is associated with Richard Childress Racing, a NASCAR Sprint Cup team.
Mr. Koch also will compete in five select NASCAR Nationwide races, Golden Gate Racing said, with Tire Kingdom support. He also drove a Tire Kingdom-sponsored Toyota at the Palm Beach ARCA race.
“As a corporation, we tend to support young organizations and those with the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Bill Ihnken, executive vice president and COO of TBC Retail Group. “Blake and his team epitomize the entrepreneurial spirit with drive, commitment, dedication and perseverance. We look forward to watching this team move to the next level.”
Mr. Koch, 24, and a native of West Palm Beach, is in his second year with Golden Gate Racing. Before that he was active in motocross.
The deal's financial terms were not disclosed.
The primary sponsor of Mr. Koch's car is Daystar Television Network, a Christian broadcasting network.
These deals are in addition to the company's entry into IndyCar Series sponsorship. It is partnering with Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) as an associate sponsor for Ms. Fisher and primary sponsor of her teammate Jay Howard, who will drive four races for the Indianapolis-based team.
TBC Retail Group Inc. will feature its ServiceCentral automotive service concept on the IndyCar Series race car it's sponsoring this year, according to a drawing of the car released by Sarah Fisher Racing, which shows TBC's Tire Kingdom, NTB, Merchant's Tire and Big O Tires logos displayed along the car's sidepod, with NTB on the front wings and Tire Kingdom on the rear wing. The car's first race will be May 1 at Kansas Speedway.
TBC Retail Group has its headquarters in Juno Beach, Fla., and operates more than 770 tire and automotive service centers under the Tire Kingdom, NTB and Merchant's Tire and Auto Centers brands, along with nearly 500 franchised Big O Tires locations.