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Search for NASCAR sponsors, rides intensifies as season nears

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search for nascar sponsors, rides intensifies as season nears

Kaz Grala has been unable to sponsor the event for three seasons due to lack of sponsorship. NASCAR starts. Grala had already had numerous conversations with sponsors by the time Christmas arrived, but he didn’t have any Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races. “set in stone”Find out more about his schedule.

The 23-year old could be running more races after a series of correspondences and calls this month. NASCARHe will be racing more this year than he did the past two seasons. Announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

“It’s never ideal to be trying to put your season together in January, certainly not February,”Grala spoke to NBC Sports. “You’re in big trouble if it comes down to (February). That’s been the position I’ve been in the last few years. Unfortunately, I’m used to it at this point.”

Fans count down the days until the beginning of the NASCAR seasonNext month, Garrett Smithley, Grala, and many other drivers will be frantically pursuing deals with sponsors or teams. January can become a stressful month filled with promises and pitfalls. forCompetitors are trying to secure asMany races asThis year, it is possible.

“I hope one day … I’m secure in my rides and I’m secure in my sponsorship where I can focus on the racing part, and I still do,”Smithley spoke to NBC Sports. “I still watch film. I still get on the simulator. I still do all those things. But, all of my spare time, as far as working on sponsorship, is geared toward trying to go racing. 

“The dessert for me is lining up Sunday and running 400 or 500 miles. All of that can’t happen unless the hours and hours and hours and days and weeks and months and years spent garnering these (sponsor and team) relationships.”

NASCAR Cup Series Championship - QualifyingGarrett Smithley. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

It’s a lesson the 29-year-old Smithley learned more than a decade ago. Smithley was 18 when he had the opportunity to race in a Legends car at Hickory Motor Speedway (North Carolina). However, he was $300 short of the amount the team needed. forThe event. 

Smithley sought sponsorship to help cover the shortfall. He used Google Maps to expand the map beyond the speedway. “just kind of went down the road and just called every company that was in that vicinity.”

Ten calls did not lead to anything. 

Twenty calls resulted in nothing 

Thirty calls were made for naught. 

Forty-eight calls were in vain. 

Smithley made 50 calls and eventually found an auto parts company that offered store credit. That was enough. forHe will take the ride.

Smithley says he needs to be both a driver and a salesman. It’s his job to sell sponsors and teams on his ability and what he can do for both.

Grala can relate to Smithley’s persistence after receiving so many rejections. That’s the way sales, in general, can be – more nos than yeses.

“Gosh, for every 100 (proposals) I would send, I would say that I’m lucky if I get 10-20 responses, period,” Grala said. “I sure get a whole lot more nos than yeses. I don’t take that personally.”

Rejections are not always good news. 

“Monday, I spent probably the later half of the day working on an email, putting together a proposal for a company, a very large national company whose CEO I reached out to and I have corresponded with before, so I knew he would see it,” Grala said.

“I put together what I thought was a really, really great opportunity. I got a response seven minutes later with just the words ‘we’re not interested.’

“You have moments like that that are frustrating, but at the same time, it doesn’t take but one ‘yes’ to all of a sudden have a great season. Who knows? Maybe have a great career. You never know. It’s always worth putting out that (large) net to try to get them.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series Henry 180Kaz Grala competed in the Xfinity Race at Road America last year season, has run 15 NASCARLimited sponsorship has prevented races from being held in the last two seasons. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images).

The last few years for Grala have been extremely lean. He has now run 20 Xfinity races, having completed 22 in 2018. NASCARRaces since 12 Xfinity races (four Cup races and four Truck races) More than 85 drivers ran at least 20 laps. NASCARRaces in any one of the three national series were held last year.

If it hadn’t been forSponsorship before 2020 seasonIt is possible that Grala may not be involved in the sport at all. 

He signed a five-race Xfinity deal in 2019 with Richard Childress Racing. Grala was 14th in each of the four races.

“When I first started my part-time schedule, it was really difficult for me,” Grala said. “You do put that pressure on yourself. You get into the race car, and let’s say you’re running ninth in an Xfinity race. Maybe you have a ninth-place car that day, but if you’re feeling like ‘I can’t finish ninth, I get one race every three months to prove myself, I’ve got to make something happen,’ that’s when you make mistakes. 

“My first year at RCR, I made those mistakes in four of the five races I did with them.”

Grala placed fifth at Road America, his final Xfinity start for the team that year. That was enough. forRichard Childress Racing wants him back in 2020 for select events — provided he could bring sponsorship.

When he wasn’t racing in 2019, Grala spent time coaching Truck series driver Natalie Decker. Ruedebusch was one of her sponsors and introduced Grala to him. He provided the funding for five Xfinity races with RCR in 2020. 

Grala stated that the deal was done. “jump-started”His career.

When Austin Dillon test positive, he had already run two Xfinity races for 2020. forCOVID-19 missed the Daytona road race course race in the regular because it was too late for them season. Grala fill in for Dillon. It was Grala’s first Cup start. He was seventh.

“If I didn’t go back to RCR for those (Xfinity) races (in 2020), I would have never ended up in that 3 car to fill in for Austin,” Grala said. “I feel that was absolutely the point that I could turn to in my career and say, ‘This is where things changed.’”

His Cup performance at Daytona’s road course earned him attention. He will run three Cup races for the Cup in 2021. for Kaulig Racing. He was sixth in the Talladega spring race. 

It takes money to acquire the ability. rides. That’s why Grala makes calls, sends proposals and brokers deals to get more races and, someday, a full-time ride. 

While Grala is a Team Dillon Management sponsor, he also helps him. asIt takes a lot of work asHe can do it all on his own.

“My dad taught me very young, ‘No one is going to care more about your career than you are. Ever,’” Grala said. “I take that to heart. I love working with (Team Dillon Management and Business Director Austin Craven). They are a huge help to me, and I can’t do everything I do without working with them side-by-side as a team, but I like to stay involved. I like to be in direct contact with teams, potential sponsors.

“I’m in the loop in everything. I’m sending emails to companies that I’m prospecting. … At the end of the day that makes successes and failures on me, which I think it should be, being my career. I take responsibility on that end.” 

Smithley also does a lot of his own sponsorship searches but is guided by Spire Sports + Entertainment’s Phillip Smalley, who has been a motorsports management marketing and consulting professional since 2014. 

“Let’s just say I get the relationship and he (Smalley) helps me keep them, and he helps me build them and he helps me garner those relationships,”Smithley spoke.

NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The GlenGarrett Smithley last year in a Cup car at Watkins Glen. In 2021, he ran 27 Cup races. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images).

It’s still not easy to find all the funding necessarily.

“I wish it was a little bit easier,”Smithley spoke. “I wish it was a little bit less stressful sometimes.”

Smithley is able to attract enough sponsors and raise enough money. forSteady ridesRecent years. He looks to have announcements later this month on what he’ll be doing this season. 

Smithley, on the other hand, has ran 109 Cup and Xfinity races over the three seasons that Grala has been racing. 

Grala knows he’s fallen behind a number of drivers in experience with his limited amount of races. This is a crucial time in his career. He needs to find as much sponsorship asSo he can, he can run asMany races as possible.

“I feel like I’m getting to that age where within the next two or three years it’s kind of when it seems to be drivers make it to Cup if they’re going to make it to Cup,” Grala said. “When I say make it to Cup, I mean full-time in a chartered car.

“We’re getting down to where I would like to be in this timeframe, so each year is getting more important. Each year, so far, has seemed to get better for me in terms of opportunities. I feel like if I keep working like I have been, keep putting in the preparation for the on-track product so I can go perform well there, I’m hoping that things will fall where they’re supposed to.

“My dream has been to be a Cup driver since I was probably single-digits years old. It’s almost like the closer you get, the more frustrating because you can taste it. You’re so close, but yet, it’s always so far because it’s never easy.

“I’m hoping that over the next couple of years I can position myself to be out there every Sunday.”

He will be closer to his goal the more he does this month.

2. Can teams afford enough cars to start? season?

One of the biggest questions in this offseason is “How many cars will teams have for the start of the season?” season.

Due to late development changes to the Next Gen car, and supply issues related COVID-19, organizations will not have seven cars per team at the beginning of the year. season. 

Potential. forThere are concerns about how teams will manage their cars during the first few weeks, especially after crashes at Daytona. season. 

“We are concerned, for sure,”Jerry Freeze is the general manager of Front Row Motorsports. “We’ve got two cars that you could take to the race track tomorrow and a third one that is on its way of being assembled. That’s about it for us right now. 

“The chassis parts are becoming more readily available, but some other things, I feel like, are behind a little bit. Hopefully, we will have more inventory. … It’s definitely different from the days where you’ve got 30 race cars in the shop.”

That’s part of the reason forThe Next Gen car will be available for purchase. It’s designed so that the car can run on multiple tracks rather than only having one. forEach track type. This is meant to save money for teams over the long-term. 

Walt Czarnecki is vice chairman of Team Penske. asConcerned about the amount of cars? forThe organization. He said this week that Mike Nelson, the team’s vice president of operations, told him that they are in “reasonably good shape as we get into this first phase of the season.”

John Probst NASCARSenior vice president for racing innovation, discussed where things will be at the beginning of the year for teams.

“We’re still on track for five cars per team … and that’s five center sections and seven front and rear clips, so it’s kind of like five plus a little bit,”He said it this week at Daytona’s organizational test. 

“I think that we’re not immune to the world. We’re seeing COVID and supply chains being delayed and some of the distribution being delayed a little bit. I’d say that right now we don’t see any parts or pieces that are going to keep any car from racing in an event.”

All 36 charter team will compete Feb. 6, at the Busch Light Clash, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Practice will get the teams back on track February 15. forThe Feb. 20 Daytona 500.

3. Ryan Newman’s future

Ryan Newman will be competing today at Chili Bowl Nationals. But he stated this week on SiriusXM NASCARRadio that he doesn’t have any kind of NASCARRide forThis season.

Newman won his 20th Cup full-time seasonLast year. 2002 Cup Rookie-of-the Year, he won 18 Cup races including the 2008 Daytona 500. He was a top-10 finisher in points seven times.

He talked about his future. “Dialed In”This week, Claire B. Lang

“Definitely interested in continuing to race,”Newman said. “That’s why there was no retirement party. There were no retirement plans. There was no ‘Ryan’s last ride’ or anything like that because that wasn’t the intention.”

He stated that he plans to do some. “short track grassroots racing”This year. Apart from that, he doesn’t have any other racing plans. 

4. Team Penske’s Xfinity program 

Team Penske, which since 2009 has had a full-time entry into the Xfinity Series, doesn’t have any races in this series. seasonWalt Czarnecki (Vice Chairman of Team Penske) said that.

Czarnecki indicated that sponsorship could make this possible. forYou can attend any one of these events. 

The team’s Xfinity program has won two driver titles and four owner crowns.

Brad Keselowski was the first to give Team Penske its first. NASCAR championship when he won the 2010 Xfinity driver’s title. 

From 2013-15, the organization won consecutive owner titles. Keselowski and Joey Logano won, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Blaney, and AJ Allmendinger also won. for2013: The team Blaney and Keselowski won races forThe team in 2014. In 2015, Blaney, Keselowski and Logano won the car. 

Team Penske won the 2017 owner’s title behind wins by Keselowski, Blaney, Logano and Sam Hornish Jr. 

Austin Cindric won 2020 Xfinity driver championship.

5. Familiar place

Christopher Bell won his eighth consecutive night preliminary victory at the Chili Bowl Nationals on Thursday night. 

The top two finishers in each of the preliminary night feature races Monday-Friday earn a starting spot in Saturday night’s main event. 

Bell, a three-time Chili Bowl champion, will be joined in Saturday’s feature race by reigning Cup champion Kyle Larson, who has won the past two Chili Bowls.