It is the sole sponsor of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Moto America Series, which means it services more than 120 riders and teams during all the series' race weekends year in and year out.
That requires three 50-foot trailers full of product and somewhere in the vicinity of 2,500 tires. Over the weekend, the company will sell between 700 and 1,000 tires and do 1,200 to 1,300 wheel mounts and dismounts.
That exposure helps sell tires to consumers, of course, but the sponsorship itself is important to fans. Supercross — which is considered the crown jewel of motorcycle racing — doesn't have a series sponsor but draws a lot of fans and TV exposure.
The AMA is more niche, which is why sponsors such as Dunlop are so critical.
"They know if the brands aren't supporting the sport, it has a chance to become a shell of what it once was," Mr. Buckley said.
Dunlop supports motorcycle racing at the highest level, but it does so at the grass-roots level, too. That investment pays off in sales, Mr. Buckley said, although it's sometimes hard to quantify.
"Ultimately, you do these things on a gut level," he said. "It's what we've been doing and we continue to have success. You don't want to stray too far from the recipe."
In addition to its work with the AMA, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires is the spec tire supplier and a sponsor of the American Flat Track (AFT) racing series, which runs on dirt oval tracks.
It also recently branched into drag racing with a line of radial DOT street-certified tires, dubbed Dragmax. The new line is designed to handle the demands of the Pro Street Bike class, "where horsepower and speeds have achieved new levels in recent years."
There are several sanctioning bodies that organize races under the Pro Street Bike category, including the American Motorcycle Racing Association; Canadian Motorcycle Drag Racing Association; International Drag Bike League; National Hot Rod Association; International Hot Rod Association; Professional Drag Racers Association; and Professional Motorcycle Racing Association.
SRNA also is leveraging its relationships with motorcycle racing for promoting its Falken car and light truck tire brand, becoming a sponsor of both the Moto America and AFT series.
Motorcycles mean something different in America than they do in, say, Europe or Asia, where crowded cities and streets can make owning a car or truck challenging.
"Motorcycles are highly tied to discretionary spending here," said Mr. Buckley, who moved back to his home state of California in January to be near Sumitomo's U.S. corporate offices.
"It's not about finding the easiest, most cost-effective transportation. It's not about the most efficient use of space or parking. People choose to ride because they're passionate about it, first and foremost. It kind of changes your approach from a marketing point of view."
Consequently, North American riders are often more interested in performance than price.
"It's more of an educated process," he said. "It's more akin to ultra-high-performance tires (for sports cars). Riders do research, they look at websites, they read magazines to see what an editor has to say."