Sunday, January 31, 2010

Support for Vision Racing Builds

Pop Off Valve has a great post up right now talking about Vision's "Letters of Reference" campaign. He makes the point I was trying to make earlier - that this is a great experiment in alternative motor sports marketing - but goes into a bit more details on why we love the Vision folks. To put it simply, we feel like we know them, and we want them to succeed.

Here's the letter Vision posted to their website announcing the suspension of operations. The last line is a quote from a Steve McQueen movie that has a cult following amount race fans. It sums up why we love the Vision Racing folks:

Endurance Racing Surprises

The funny thing about endurance racing - particularly 24 hour races like Le Mans or Daytona - is that you go to be around midnight with a certain group of cars running up front, and when you wake up the next morning, one has lost the engine, one has crashed, one has lost a gearbox, and one is still chugging along in second. The rest of the cars up front all make you say, "Huh?" It's a bit tough to get back into the race. I think a bagel and coffee will help!

Rolex 24 TV Coverage

I get that sports car endurance racing is even more of a niche sport than IndyCar racing, but seriously. I have something like 500 channels. I can even get Yankees programming via the YES network ... and I live in Boston! Suffice it to say I am not hurting for channels. Why is it, then, that right now cars are racing in Daytona, and I cannot see it on my beautiful 37" HDTV until 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. I could watch it from 3:00 PM through 10:00 PM last night, and today I can watch it from 7:00 AM through 4:00 PM. I get that nobody is awake, but just on principle, in an era when I can watch college basketball in HD right now on five channels, shouldn't I be able to check in and see what's happening?

I guess I shouldn't complain, though. SPEED TV is airing a ton of the race, and all of it during hours when sane and reasonable people are awake. Which I guess means I should just go to bed, it being 1:25 AM. So, good night! I hope the IndyCar guys are having good night stints down in Daytona!

Vision Racing Needs YOU!

As you may have read elseware, Vision Racing has been forced to suspend their racing operations due to lack of sponsorship for the fast-approaching 2010 season. While it's sad when any team fails to make the grid, I'm particularly sad to see Vision stumble. When I went to the IndyCar race at Watkins Glen last year (it's become something of a birthday tradition), I went to a Tweet-Up put together by Vision's crack PR team. I got to go into the new media center, and got to relax in air-conditioned comfort with a veritable who's-who of IndyCar bloggers and fans. I even got to meet Ed Carpenter and Tony Kanaan. I got a nice William Rast hat, and got to meet a lot of really cool people. The whole thing just reinforced that Vision Racing gets new media in a way that few (if any) other race teams do. They really work hard to connect with their fans through Facebook and Twitter, and seem to have forged a really nice direct relationship with their fans.

Imagine my joy, then, when I saw this in my Facebook feed. That's right, IndyCar fans! You can help Vision make it to the grid! You just have to send along a note, and e-mail, a fax, a letter, telling potential sponsors why they should sponsor Vision Racing. I sent my e-mail already. I promise you, Vision appreciates every last letter and word of encouragement.

I really do believe that Vision Racing is conducting an important experiment in motor sports marketing. By establishing a truly direct connection with their fans, they can offer sponsors an avenue to promote their brands and products that other teams cannot. It's an important experiment, and one that deserves a full chance to succeed. So if you care about IndyCar racing, send Vision a quick note of encouragement, and let potential sponsors know that Vision is a horse worth backing!