NERF'ers Corner by Robert Echo

Need Sponsorship Dollars? Go Get ‘Em!!!


The BIG Picture.. It all starts with Exposure..

After Stafford Motor Speedway’s Spring Sizzler most of us checked out the online racing news sources along with comments on the social pages by friends in the sport involving the happenings from Sizzler weekend.

During my reading I was very pleased to see a post on the social pages by National Speed Sport News with a photo of Bobby Santos III celebrating his Sizzler victory. I “liked” National Speed Sport News a while back as they are an outstanding source for coverage in many of the open wheel happenings around the nation. Publisher and co-owner, Ralph Shaheen is originally a Northeastern boy and knows plenty about Modified racing in the Northeast so when he took the reigns of the publication made famous by Chris Economaki and family it only said big things were to come. The story may have been the actual NASCAR press release, but I shared the it to a related group page for a reason, to give kudos to the publication for recognizing a Northeast Modified tradition and the division.

What soon followed on the post was a case of hardheadedness by one commenter. They questioned why someone would share a post and attempt to push traffic to the National Speed Sport News website that they believed had no interest in making any kind of effort to cover the Modifieds on any level. They followed it up by claiming National Speed Sport News didn’t care enough about the Modifieds to offer them any true coverage of the division. If that were the case they wouldn’t have made an effort to post it. Furthermore, what’s wrong with national exposure? So much for recognizing the big picture.

If a post on any regional division or series by a national publication receives a high number of shares and “likes” that national publication takes notice because the link is hit. It’s called feedback. It’s something that anyone who works or has worked for a website, in social media, or racing publication should be quite familiar with. Those “likes” or feedback via write ins gives props to the publication for that exposure by the fan base regardless of whether it was a NASCAR press release.

It’s not rocket science to recognize when a national publication gives any coverage, regurgitated or not, it’s still coverage and if you have ever been a part of the promotional side of things where sponsorship is sought after and signed, most all coverage is good coverage as far as the almighty dollar is concerned. When it comes from the likes of a national publication that coverage becomes major exposure which reaches many fans that may not be familiar with a particular division. In this case National Speed Sport News took the time to post something about the Whelen Modified Tour and that is a good thing for Northeast asphalt Modified racing no matter which way you slice it or how one tries to spin it.

Coverage on a national level boosts exposure to those that might not yet be exposed to the type of racing. It’s a national publication, one with a high traffic website that reaches millions of online viewers not to mention those subscribing to the printed publication. The way to gain new fans, unfamiliar with a division or series, is through that national exposure. Many fans are business owners or operators and have set aside advertising money just waiting to be put to good use. These are potential sponsors. That’s potential sponsorship dollars that could come to teams in desperate need to not only continue competing, but improve. Sponsorship dollars that could dish out bigger purse money for a division or series that so desperately needs it. Funding or contingencies that can give a great boost for a tour or series.

Who else benefits from it? That’s right, the local news sources; television stations, radio stations, websites and publications that may only cover the regional racing or touring series. They all prosper from the additional exposure. Those new sponsors see the local coverage and dish out advertising dollars to those entities to promote their sponsorship investment and their product. So, contrary to what the closed minded might think, it’s not only the national publication that could land advertising dollars, it’s the locals who cover it as well.

Why have I brought this subject up, you ask? Well, as what some had predicted, National Speed Sport News coverage has taken a dive head first into television.

Less than two months after the Sizzler MAVTV (available on over 50 service providers including; DirectTV, Comcast, & Dish) and National Speed Sport News have come together to bring a bi-weekly two hour block of shows, hosted by Ralph Shaheen. “SPEED SPORT Magazine” which will pretty much be a televised edition of what you commonly see in their publication. The second hour is titled “SPEED SPORT” and will provide coverage of racing events across the nation. Check out the link to the announcement by MAVTV here for information regarding the shows bi-weekly format.

If you tuned in to their first show then you know they featured coverage of Oswego Speedway’s Richie Evans Memorial Modified event won by “Money” himself, Matt Hirschman, which just took place the week before. Rather peculiar for a national racing publication/website that supposedly doesn’t care to give the division any coverage, wouldn’t you say? Now there’s word they have been contacting other series in the Modified division for video coverage to provide more exposure.

Kudos to National Speed Sport News and any future coverage of our beloved asphalt Modified division that could use the national exposure!

This weeks NERF’ers Corner features something that Robert Echo believed in, helping the teams get the money needed to compete.

When I read the following column I thought for 1980 this little piece by the “Ol’ NERF” had to be a boost to those who knew how to prep and set up they’re cars, but lacked the know how to seek sponsorship.

Many from back in the day will tell you that he offered his assistance for free with no strings attached.  There were times back in the 80’s that Robert Echo would meet an owner or team over lunch, or before an event, or a lengthy phone conversation.  Just to give pointers and help teams continue on by getting those needed extra funds to compete.  He was a strong believer on giving back to the sport he took so much enjoyment from.

I hope you enjoy this latest reopening of the NERF’ers Corner time capsule as much as they did back in the 80’s.

On a sad note, Anne Fiore, mother of legendary Modified car owner and racing personality Mario Fiore, passed away this past Tuesday.  On behalf of NERF’ers everywhere we pass along our thoughts and prayers to the Fiore family and friends.  Best wishes.

Yours in Racing,


– Friday, March 21st, 1980 –


Have you ever figured out what it costs you in dollars and cents to racing week in and week out?

Well!…If you happen to be one of the lucky die hard racing fans then all you have to do is load the loved ones into the family car making sure there’s a full tank of go juice aboard and enough bucks in the ol’ wallet to cover the price of tickets, some snack bar delicacies, a few beers and you’re off to the races.

Then again, if you happen to serve as a driver of some race car, you’ll most likely need all of the above plus you fire suit and helmet.

Now comes the fun part of going racing every week, if you want to call it that, which is that of being the car owner or the man who pump the mainline dollars into the sport of auto racing.

As a car owner, it helps if you own Fort Knox, a bank or a loaded Brink’s truck but if you don’t it still doesn’t matter because you still need a good supply of Uncle Sam’s greenbacks to keep your racing operation on the move.

Unless you hold down two or three jobs, have your wife working, mortgage your house, personal car or whatever else you might find, then you must come up with another means of raising some green stuff to support your race car.

Marty Radewick was just one of the many Robert Echo assisted with getting sponsorship through the years. Howie Hodge photo
Marty Radewick was just one of the many Robert Echo assisted with getting sponsorship through the years. Marty seen here at at speed at Riverside Park Speedway in one of the Tom Thomas Racers. Howie Hodge photo

Let’s face it!… In the last two or three years the number of race cars, especially in the asphalt modified field, has dwindled substantially… and why?… Because of the continuing high cost of building a race car. You can’t afford to build a car at eight to ten thousand dollars, buy motors costing some eight to twelve grand and tires at a hundred and fifty bucks apiece and continue to keep your race car running…. So what do you do then?… You either park your car and let it rust in the rain… or you get your act together, if you love the sport, and go find yourself a sponsor to help with the financial end of your operation.

So now we’ve got down to the brunt of this week’s column… Is there sponsor’s available?… If so!… Where do you find them?…How do you find them?… How do you get a potential sponsor to turn over his hard earned dollars to you especially if he’s never been involved with racing or ever seen a race?

Yes!… There are hundreds of sponsors available out there in the racing land… In fact!… The next time you drive through your home town, take a look at how many businesses are lined up down both sides of the street and they all spend money on advertising whether it be radio, television, in the newspapers or on that sign hung over their store front.

Billions and billions of good ol’ American dollars are spent every year by very big business and very small business and all those in between… So why aren’t you getting some of this advertising money?… You’re in a very highly conscious advertising market.

You might feel there are many businesses out there that aren’t good prospective sponsors… Hogwash!…Every business on every block is a good prospect and while some are better than others, they all are potential sponsors.

If you don’t believe it, take a look around your house and think about all the things you and the family use that come from almost every business imaginable. There’s food, clothing, cigarettes, sundries, pharmaceuticals, appliances, books, furniture, tools, automobile and even the haircut and hairdo you and your better half got recently… So!… Now you can see just how many potential sponsors are waiting for somebody to ask.

I’ve now covered three of the four items in regards to sponsor hunting… The availability!… Where to hunt!… How to find them!… Now I’ll try to give you some idea of how to get money out of a prospective sponsor.

You must first put together a proposal book explaining all the facets of your racing operation and at the same time giving the potential sponsor some insight into the sport of auto racing and what it has to offer them.

List your experience and years in racing as an owner and then do like wise for your driver… List information and statistics on your race car… List the speedway you’ll run on a regular basis and the estimated attendance at same… List all tracks you plan to compete at and there projected attendance figures… List statistics on Northeastern racing including estimated attendance and then do the same for the National racing scene… List any other pertinent information that might be of interest to a prospective sponsor… List your projected racing budget for the coming season… Enclose several photos of your race car in your proposal… Make sure that everything put together in the book is neatly typed and use an appealing report cover, preferably of the imitation leather grain style which can be purchased for under a dollar… Also, make several duplicates of the book off a copy machine using the same type cover. You can leave one of these with the potential sponsor after giving your presentation with the original.

When going out to see a prospective sponsor, make sure you dress appropriately. Wear a suit if your prospect is big business such as a manufacturer, large chain store or any big firm. Dress casually if you’re going to see a small business such as a tavern , service station, the corner shoe store or neighborhood grocery.

If your going after a big dollar sponsor, don’t be afraid to tell them that you’ll paint and letter the car in their company colors or colors of their choice.

I hope the information I’ve given in this column has served a purpose to someone in racing land who’s been trying to figure out how to get a sponsor.

Now!… All you have to do is psyche yourself into a positive frame of mind and go get that sponsor you’ve sorely needed. Why not go after some of those advertising dollars that are available?… You deserve them!… Go get ’em!

You can also raise money through raffles, fund raising dinners and what about community sponsored race car?

The Ol’ Nerf’s spent his lifetime in sales, public relations, promotional work and sponsor hunting of one kind or another.

If you’d like more information, suggestions or just want to discuss how to find a sponsor, give me a call at 413/XXX-XXXX or drop me a line at (address withheld). I’ll be glad to give you what moral support I can.

NERF’ers Nibblets…  Promoter C.J. Richards of Albany-Saratoga Speedway has added Winters Performance and Kendall Oil to the $25,000 Point Fund he’s offering at the Malta track in 1980…  Bob Polverari’s trip to Martinsville,VA. Speedway for the “Dogwood 500” came to an abrupt halt early due to a motor problem. Tough luck for “Rapid Robert’s return to racing especially after qualifying ninth in the field…  After reading the story on Jack Gelgut’s Depot Square Racing Team, what I want to know is what will happen if someone paints out the Depot in the name. Let’s see now, there’s square meals and could be a squa—oops…  It was good to hear one of my friends is out of the hospital after some serious internal problems. Get well wishes are in order for Becky Colt, sister and fan of Claremont Speedway modified driver Dick Stevens…  Thanks for the support of the “Cutter Connection” down Portland, Tennessee way. It’s great to hear from fans as super as Don, Nancy, Karen, Kelly and Father Steven Cutter who reads the Ol’ Nerf’s column faithfully…  Word has it that the grounds are starting to quake and shake up Claremont way. Could it be that Big Foot has come out of hibernation and is on the rampage upon hearing that the CODA track is opening on May 10th with the “Dale’s Radiator -CODA ’80 Opener”!…  Till next week; Roast the Rat” on April 11th, support the “NARAC Fund” and get a friend a “Scene” Subscription!

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