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NASCAR to connect sponsors, businesses

Thursday, November 8, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Arizona Small Business Association
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By Kyle O’Donnell Special for The Republic | Wed Nov 7, 2012 7:10 PM

NASCAR, making its second stop of the year at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, is hoping to give some of the region’s small businesses more traction.

A new program offered by the racing circuit, the NASCAR Business Series presented by Bank of America, is designed to connect local business owners across Arizona with NASCAR’s official marketing partners.

An event planned today at the racetrack is designed to offer networking, idea-sharing and deal-making opportunities as well as noted speakers on small business and entrepreneurship.

Norris Scott, vice president of partnership marketing at NASCAR, said the event would provide local small-business owners with advice on how to improve their businesses. NASCAR is the first major sports league to create such a program.

The event also will create a partnership between NASCAR and the Arizona Small Business Association. The ASBA is the largest trade association in Arizona, representing more than 11,000 member businesses with more than a half-million employees in the state’s 15 counties.

"Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is to help small business grow their businesses,” Scott said.

The event, held days before Sunday’s Advocare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, is one of only two such events hosted by NASCAR. The first was at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 10.

NASCAR chose Phoenix because it is an important market for event sponsor Bank of America, Scott said. The Arizona Small Business Association also presents a great network of small and midsize businesses.

Rick Murray, Arizona Small Business Association chief executive, said he was excited about the NASCAR Business Series. "We jumped at the chance to work with NASCAR on this opportunity,” Murray said.

A natural relationship exists between NASCAR and the small-business community, Murray said.

Scott said that NASCAR infuses a local economy with $100million to $150million each race week.

Today’s event will host 160 small-business owners from Arizona, Scott said. Four of NASCAR’s major sponsors — UPS, Bank of America, Sprint and Nationwide — also will participate, Scott said.

The event will include an economic outlook by Bank of America, a presentation by Jim Blasingame, host of the "Small Business Advocate Show,” and an interview with Ray Evernham, former crew chief for NASCAR standout Jeff Gordon.

Blasingame said that small businesses in towns where NASCAR races have a tremendous advantage, especially the Phoenix area, with its two races in Goodyear.

His presentation will focus on the velocity of change. Businesses must constantly readjust their models and methods in order to stay relevant, Blasingame said.

"It’s OK to fall in love with what you do, but you can’t fall in love with how you do it,” Blasingame said.

Murray said the event will help small businesses develop larger relationships and give them direction on expansion.

"This is the first step in creating a relationship,” he said. "We are very excited about these opportunities.”

The ASBA will give a presentation on how to make step-by-step connections with NASCAR and its sponsors, Murray said.

Scott said the NASCAR Business Series originated with the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council, a quarterly event that helps NASCAR sponsors network with one another.

Bank of America approached NASCAR in order to connect with small businesses better, Scott said.

Murray said that member businesses and major NASCAR sponsors depend on one another.

"It’s important for them to network locally,” he said about the major sponsors.


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