What is the link between racers, fans, and businesses potentially involved with sponsorship in racing? That is the link that racers need to determine when looking to secure funds from any business. It may be an obvious user-defined link such as a racing vendor supporting a car or a home improvement center sponsoring a NASCAR team. The sponsor is looking to get its name in front of a specific set of customers and associate the company name with racing. It is an act of associating multiple passions with a need and a name.

At the highest levels of our sport the linkage between the sponsor, the driver, and even the team or organization is inextricable. When you hear the name Jeff Gordon one of the first things you think of is DuPont, or possibly Pepsi, and with Tony Stewart the immediate link is with Home Depot. These businesses have recognized and developed a link between their customers and the racers, so there is a clear and distinct linkage between these teams, drivers, and the sponsors.

This does not happen by accident. It takes work and a long term relationship between the sponsor, the racers, and the team to get this kind of recognition. The value to the business is difficult to place a dollar value on, but it is measured and can be determined right down to the penny. There are numerous businesses that track just how often a product is mentioned and the amount of time the product is seen within the media, including TV, radio, print, and movies, to name a few.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that it is difficult to field even a local Saturday night racecar solely out of the pocket of the racer. Even if you were to win every week, the purses at the local dirt track or paved oval just could not support the program. Without some additional funding from friends, family or a sponsor of some type, the show would be much smaller or non-existent.

So, how does the local Saturday night racer get a sponsor and the funds to help run his team? The tried and true way is to develop a sponsorship package-a document that defines the team in a favorable light. This document, along with an impassioned pitch, is supposed to get the potential sponsor to see the light and give the racer a very favorable financial package.

The majority of sponsorship packages are trying to sell the prospective sponsor on the driver and the car. The problem is that most racers are trying to sell something when in reality you are entering into a partnership with the sponsor. For the package to really work where both parties benefit, they need to work together. It is much more than just writing a check. Let's examine the content from a typical sponsorship package and see what many drivers are showing to potential sponsors. The document will often include text and photos that delineate:

• Historical points that revolve around a win/loss record of the driver and/or the team
• A profile of the driver
- Some personal information
- Marital status
- Education
- Likes and dislikes
- Length of driving career
- Experience level and types of cars raced previously and the success in each prior division
• A profile of the team and the members and possibly some team history, often with pictures and a profile of the team members in uniforms.
• Past or current championships that the driver has won or the current points battle and how the driver and team are doing
• The look of the car in its current state.
• Pictures of the tow rig and trailer.
• A cost breakdown for the weekly needs of the team, although rarely a budget of weekly costs are included.

The document may also show pictures of the racecar in the potential sponsor's logo and painted in the sponsor's colors. This is easily done with a digital photo and good photo manipulation software.