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Marketing through Motorsports
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This started off as a thread about the availability of Sunoco fuel at 100 Acre Wood.

With Garret's permission, I'm sharing some correspondence that sheds light on the question about the value to the membership of our Sunoco arrangement and others on the sponsor stack.

As a side note, Sunoco will soon be sending out a marketing insert to its 750,000 credit card holders that will promote the SCCA ProRally series, including event names, dates, and web sites. This, my friends, is PROMOTION of our sport.

--- Garret Mudd wrote:
John,

I must have missed this, but I came across it as I was going through some back e-mails.

I can provide some insights on a variety of levels. The Sunoco partnership crosses all area of SCCA activities. The Performance Rally department receives a portion of their sponsorship which helps underwrite, in some way, the overall SCCA Rally program on all levels.

Also, as I mentioned at the NorPac convention, these partnerships are like any other relationship, business or personal. I don't know about you, but I didn't get a kiss on my first date with my wife (you might have been luckier than I), but clearly that relationship has progressed. Similarly with our partnership with Sunoco or any other sponsor, with proper attention they continue to grow and get better year after year.

This has clearly been the case with Sunoco. In addition to their on-site support through fuel sales, which I will address in greater detail in a minute, they will be announcing a contingency program in the near future.

In addition, they will be doing considerably more promotion of the SCCA and the ProRally program. They will be involved in other, future promotional programs that feature the SCCA.

Specifically with regard to the fuel supply. Sunoco's commitment to make high-quality fuel available at every ProRally event is not a small one on their part. As Mike referenced, it was an "above and beyond" effort on the part of the organizer to have this type of service available for competitors. With Sunoco's involvement, competitors do not need to worry about hauling fuel to events or even think about if it will be available. Competitors at all levels can now tune their engines with the knowledge that they will be able to use identical fuel at each event.

With regard to the pricing issues, it is true that there are locations where a Sunoco retailer in the general area has the same fuel at a slightly lower price. However, that is not the case in all areas where the ProRally Championship runs. In Michigan, Minnesota and Maine, for example, they have a good retail network because of the level of racing and/or snowmobiling that takes place. In other areas it would not be available within a reasonable driving distance. Even in those locations, having the fuel available "within 30 miles" translates to a one hour round trip to get it. On a Rally weekend, having the fuel readily available, generally within walking distance, is a level of service that I feel adds value to competitors. This is the case at most major road racing tracks as well. In my previous position at Lime Rock, our on-site fuel was more expensive that other retail locations in the area or even through the master distributor who was located less than an hour away. Regardless, competitors valued knowing that they would have the fuel available right there whenever they wanted it.

It is also worth noting that the Sunoco distributors and retailers who work together to service the events do have additional costs, such as the truck, transportation and staffing necessary to making the fuel that convenient for competitors. At Sno*Drift they sold just over 500 gallons of fuel. I cannot say whether that even covered their costs. Retail stations likely have 4,000 - 5,000 gallons of the fuel in ground and can sell it over the course of a month or more. In addition, they are open for other business as well so if they are not selling race fuel they will be taking in money for selling 87 octane street gas or some other products.

I haven't seen any of the comments on Special Stage, but in general I believe that competitors do feel it is a benefit to have the fuel readily and consistently available and that this level of involvement has made the sport better for competitors.

I also think that as the relationship with Sunoco continues to grow they will continue to expand their involvement with events, organizers and all areas of the sport.

Other than the general funding that Fram, Valvoline and Hawk provide to the performance rally department, we have not yet elevated those programs. We are working with each of them to increase their involvement in all areas of SCCA including Performance Rally.

Again, thanks for expressing your concerns and opinions directly. Without knowing how people feel we cannot begin to address their concerns.

Please feel free to give me a shout if you have any other questions or ideas. I look forward to seeing you at Rim.

Regards, Garret

[hr]

[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
www.WidgetRacing.com
 

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I'm honestly not trying to be a poop-head, but being a jaded, commie Northwesterner fixated on assigning beneficiaries, the only figures I see are for fliers to customers (which is okay, I guess -- the dollar value of one across-the-board customer mailing of a couple to a few thousand bucks, on par with what Silverstone did for one rally last year/year before), mileages, and gallon amounts.

What are the dollar figures for direct support? There would be no need to get defensive if we actually knew what the level of support was.

andy
 

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John: Thanks for following up with Garret.

Garret: Thanks for the great explanation.

This is the type of communication the rally community (maybe the whole SCCA) needs, and is a great example of how a little information can answer a lot of questions.

The forum for this type of communication could be the SCCA web site, SpecialStage.com or letters through the mail.

There are two important points from this go round of "questioning the leadership" for me:

1) We need better, more direct, and more frequent acknowledgement of our sponsors and their good deeds. (After all we want to support those who support us.)

2) There is still some ambiguity to the level of support from Fram and Black Hawk Brakes. We all know the SCCA has an agreement with these sponsors that they see beneficial. Many of us, with good reason, question if we can TRUST the SCCA's business decisions. We further question if we can TRUST the SCCA's decisions with regard to the best interests of the Performance Rally Community.

It is unfortunate that the ambiguity of the sponsorship "deals" is a point for disenchantment.

The sentiment demonstrates how deeply embedded the lack of Faith is in the SCCA and the Performance Rally Department.

Off to Sunoco,
didn't know Valvoline was involved,
thinking about a Fram filter for the truck,
already picked another brake pad brand but might consider Hawk,

Mike
 

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Hmm interesting.


I will add the following observation made First Hand at the surrounding towns near Salem, Potosi, Ellingham(sp?) and whatnot.
MO seems to consider 89 octane to be the max at about 75% of the stations and labels that Super Unleaded.

Guess Kim wasn't kidding when he said 89 was the standard.


Little road WRX (overly tuned) didn't like that at ALL...

Ed
 

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What Sunoco race fuel at 100aw?
After regestering and using the very handy "shake downstage" I stopped by the rally HQ to ask where the race gas was going to be on friday, race day. Their response was Ellington, from Two people of authority sitting behind the reistration table. At tech on friday I asked a Kim Demotte where the race gas was, and being irritated by a radio issue already, he simply said "there is none"
Great news to find out in Ellington MO two hours to go time. What chaps my ass is the lack of notification. I faxed them my order how about a return call with some time for me to load 5 gallon bombs into my van.
I Think this happened at Prescott as well. I would be a consumer of the product but my confidence in the system is lacking.

# 427 Drew Goldsmith/ Rem Wyatt
 

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It was announced on this forum that Sonoco race fuel would not be available due to the lack of demand. You may have left home before we did and not seen this message. However, we left Wednesday morning and this information had been available for some time before that. And as JB noted, 93 octane was available at the BP station in Salem.

As a general comment, support from advertisers does not necessarially mean a check in your pocket. Support comes in many forms such as rebates on tires for winning (Silverstone) or as many of us would like, reduced prices for products provided that the reduced price is really less than we could buy the same thing at Pep Boys. Suggestion for all product sponsors, a rebate for buying the advertised product. I will send this to Garrett today.
Richard Miller
 

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At 9:57 AM on Tuesday 2/18 I posted the fact that Sunoco would not be at 100AW. I admit it's a little late, but they only had orders for 135 gallons and one of those orders was not going to materialize because the entrant had already cancelled with us. Let's be real here. The distributor would have to come from Marine, IL and spend two days for under 100 gallons of fuel.

OK. So let's put you in Ellington with two hours to go and no 93. Did you ask anybody? There are two stations in Ellington that sell 93 Octane Unleaded fuel. The Amoco Station at 2nd and 106 and the Sinclair Station and quick shop on 2nd on the way out to Hwy 21.

Organizers can't be responsible for all your needs. Hope your chapped ass is healing.

Kim DeMotte
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I don't use race gas. The Geo runs bad on anything but regular, 87 octane, gas. :) Of course, I'm in the minority, I think; none of my brothers use race gas, and we're all production classes. :)

I use Valvoline products. The oil-change guys love to see us coming in our rally cars, as the cars are the most interesting things they've seen ever. :) Everyone has an opinion, though, and while we like Valvoline, some people don't.

I don't use Fram, I use a K&N air filter. Yes, they do make one for the Geo. :) Works great, and I don't have any reason to change brands.

I know it's not about a check in the pocket, it's about support for the series. It's great to see support for the series. How about a series sponsor? It's been years since we've had one of those. :)

I think most of us see "support for the series" as something far off and controlled by the, not-so-trustworthy, PRB or the PRD or someone who has no idea of the needs of the bulk of the rally community. Lets face it, actions speak louder than words, so the Head Office can say that members come first until they are blue in the face, and it won't make a difference when you get down to the common folk level.

Just some thoughts I had and thought I'd share....

:) KT
 

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First off, I did not order fuel nor was I even at the rally, so my views are purely from the outside. However, I would have to agree with Drew. The original post said that Sunoco fuel will be available, just fax an order. It did not say that it would be conditionally available. More to the point, though, is that if posting here was not sufficient for placing an order, then posting here is not necessarily sufficient for for a cancellation of existing orders.

I went to www.100aw.org
I did not see the fax order (I likely just missed it), but I did notice that the rally's website still lists Sunoco as being availble. I understand that organizing a rally is a very difficult and time consuming task. I understand that mistakes can and will be made. But I think Drew is justified in calling this a mistake. In moving towards future, increased, support from/for Sunoco, it would be worth figuring out how to prevent a reoccurrance of this problem, even if it is just a note on the fax order form saying, "check www.specialstage.com or call (555)555-1212 before you leave for the rally."

Perhaps this note was actually on the form (as I said, I missed the form).

Matthew
 

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Careful or you will get chapped too. The postings, of which there were several, clearly stated that fuel might not be available due to lack of demand. The fact that you have read this posting indicates that you should have known about the fuel situation. And yes organizing is a pain in the but. You are welcome to try it yourself. Those of us who are organizers will give you all the help you will accept.
Richard Miller
PS: Kim, I have had plenty of sleep too. In fact, I slept about 24 hours out of the first 48 I was home from the rally. The rally was great. That is the first event I have ever shifted out of 4th into 5th at red line. And continued to gain speed.:7

The tow home almost broke me though. 300 miles of ice. x(
 

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So.... the moral of the story is, check for the latest updates on the event website and SS before leaving to go to an event.

Don't you guys do that already?? Isn't that part of the SOP for your teams?? With the advent of the internet, those who aren't plugged in all the time miss out. Now that organizers aren't so much mailing any entry forms to potential competitors, we gotta be checking websites on an almost daily basis to get the latest and greatest.

Who has time for that? Besides the self-employed and the unemployed, and those of you with T-1 lines and little else to do. :)

KT
 
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