[media-credit id=50 align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]NASCAR’s West Coast swing came to a very surprising and a very promising end on Sunday at the conclusion of the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California. The three race sequence which also included stops at Phoenix Raceway, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway could be looked upon as a big success, and a victory for the sport as far as the attendance numbers are concerned.
Auto Club Speedway which has had its problems filling the stands in the past, along with being criticized by the fans as a track that should be taken off the schedule, because they feel it is one of the less exciting races on the schedule.
But after arriving at the track and watching fan after fan fill the stands even though there was a threat of rain in the forecast, it was great to see that NASCAR racing hasn’t lost its appeal in the Southern California market even though one the more popular short tracks in the Nation closed its gates in January.
Because of a solid marketing effort by Manny Poveda, who is NASCAR’s Consumer Marketing Manager for the West Coast, and his team the attendance at all three tracks was able to compete with the one of the more popular tracks on the schedule, and that being Bristol the following weekend.
Marketing has always been the backbone for any business to survive, and the same can be said for any sport which includes NASCAR. It takes a strong and persistent marketing team to push the sport into areas that have never been reached before, in order to boost the ratings and help the sport flourish.
“We are doing more consumer marketing and letting sports fans know that NASCAR is around and that the MLB and the NBA and the rest are not the only sport in town,” said Poveda during the recent Daytona 500 viewing party at ESPN Zone located in Downtown Disney.
Poveda also added that, “Throughout the year we do a lot of events where we bring out show cars and displays where people can get up close and personal to the cars and take pictures.”
Reaching out to the different fan bases, along with reaching out to the wide range of demographics in view of the fact that fans of all ages enjoy watching these weekend warriors do battle on a weekly basis is one of a few tasks the marketing team pursues.
Poveda, along with Josh Avila who works at Auto Club Speedway as the Hispanic Marketing & Communications Manager, and Mario Cobian who is the CEO at Pochteca Media began to reach out to the Hispanic community when NASCAR gave Poveda the go ahead to pursue this ethnic group.
Diversity in the sport has come a long way since the early days, when the majority of the drivers were southern bred men whose ancestors were tied in with moonshining during the prohibition era. Another trend that is becoming popular are the drivers from the different motorsports series who are seeking to expand their driving skills by competing for seats in this lucrative series, that at one time were for occupied by drivers who came up through the lower level developmental series.
NASCAR as we see it today is a business along with being a form of entertainment for all ages and ethnic groups to enjoy, and it’s no wonder the governing body has chosen to reach out to the Hispanic community since their fan base is expanding at an incredible rate.
Poveda being Hispanic himself noticed the trend, and with his vast knowledge in marketing decided to tap into the market and work together with NASCAR to bring this fan base to the sport.
“NASCAR is shooting for different ethnic groups including the Hispanic market and pushing the Hispanic awareness. We are in our fourth season and it’s going good, and we have a five to six year working plan that will reach the different parts of the marketing world, it’s a process and we know we will get there, “said Poveda when talking about NASCAR’s long term plan.
Poveda also added that, “Brian France and Mike Helton are 100% behind us and they are the ones who brought up the idea and knows our initiative, and he knows the Hispanic fans are out there and it’s up to us to get them educated. They see them at the race track and know they wear the Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and the Carl Edwards jackets and not just the Juan Montoya merchandise.”
Poveda finished with, “The idea is to get them to the track so they can experience and get familiar with the sport and hopefully they become a fan.”
To see how diverse the fan base has become and how popular racing in the NASCAR has become among the Hispanic community, look no further than this weekend’s K&N East Series race at Greenville Pickens Speedway.
There are six Hispanics in the field, which will include Sergio Pena-Colombia, Bryan Ortiz-Puerto Rico, Jorge Arteaga-Mexico, Jorge Contreras Jr.-Mexico, Daniel Suarez-Mexico, Carlos Ianconelli-Brazil, along with Duarte Ferriera from Angola, and Australian Scott Saunders.
Whether it be having a NASCAR viewing party such as the one that was put together for the Daytona 500 at ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California, or setting up a display booth for one of the many charity foundations to promote the sport.
The marketing team is reaping the fruits of success by reaching out and bringing a broader and more diverse fan base to the sport, along with a new breed of drivers from different countries that are willing to spend their hard earned money to compete in this great sport of ours.