A car by the people, for the people. How American a concept is that?
A group called FanCar plans to sponsor two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte for the final race of the 2009 Sprint Cup season at Homestead. The mastermind behind the idea is a dude name Matt Ferguson. For $20 (a 24-pack of your favorite beer, not that I drink that much beer, at least not in a single setting) fans sign up and get their names on the car. FanCar works with teams that are already established, and in the case of Labonte, have a past champions provision that virtually assures a start. Per FanCar.com:
“We started FanCar to support drivers like Terry Labonte, a former Cup champion and an old-school, no-nonsense competitor,” said Matt Ferguson, founder of FanCar. “Now it’s up to the fans to get behind Terry and Carter/Simo Racing at Miami and join the FanCar team.”
Labonte has two titles, is well respected and now has a reason to bust out his rocking mustache.
“It’s a great honor and a privilege to be the first driver of the FanCar,” said Terry Labonte, driver of the #08 Carter/Simo Toyota Camry. “NASCAR fans have given me so much in my career, but FanCar takes that fan support to a whole new level.”
Published reports suggest a car owner will fork out between $250,000 and $500,000 per race weekend. My trusty abacus shows at least 12,500 fans would have to pay the $20 fee to run. As an incentive, those who pony up coin get their names on the car, a vote on the car design, a vote to decide the message on the side of the car (All Left Turns Rocks is a viable suggestion in my mind), and written certification you’re an official sponsor. Per ESPN:
"My guarantee to the fans is 100 percent of the sponsorship dollars goes to the car and its owner," Ferguson said. "I know times are tough. Hopefully, FanCar can generate some excitement and we’ll be competing with other people for these sponsor deals in the future.”
Ferguson told reporters he definitely wants to raise money to fund teams for Daytona and will try and find enough sponsorship to support two rides next year.
Now that all of these facts are out of the way, here are two pieces of random editorial perspective:
- We know there are plenty of good drivers looking for gigs next year. We keep hearing how many loyal fans NASCAR has. Curious to see how those two components link together for a young driver compared to an older driver.
- $250,000 per race! And that’s the cheap end. Bare minimum, teams need $9 million to run a full season, or $18 million if you want to be any good. I’d like “Cost Control” for $1,000 Alex.