Reviewing NASCAR and the Daytona 500

Eddy Sidani
  • February 27, 2021
  • Eddy Sidani
Using SponsorPulse, we analyze data on NASCAR to assess how partners can best tailor their involvement in the two motorsport properties.
Using the SponsorPulse platform, we analyzed data on NASCAR and its traditional season-opener to assess how partners can best tailor their involvement in the two motorsport properties.

It has been 20 years since the world lost one of the most gifted racers to ever sit behind a steering wheel.

Two decades ago, Ralph Dale Earnhardt Sr. left this world having cemented himself as one of the greatest stock car racers to ever do it. In honor of the anniversary of Earnhardt Sr’s passing, SponsorPulse has decided to dedicate this month’s insight piece to NASCAR and the Daytona 500.

NASCAR by the numbers in the USA

When compared to the likes of other high-profile motorsport series such as Formula One, Moto GP, and IndyCar, nothing compares to NASCAR in the USA. According to SponsorPulse data, 38% of Americans engage with NASCAR at least once a year; of that cohort, 39% interact with the series on a weekly basis. This demonstrates the significant reach that the property has domestically. NASCAR gets a SponsorPulse Opportunity Score of 19, making it the 53rd ranked property overall in the USA. Not exactly on par with the National Football League (NFL), but certainly still impressive.

Breaking down NASCAR's performance by demographics and consumer behaviors, SponsorPulse data shows that the series is especially strong among white American men aged 25 to 39, and making more than US$50,000 a year. Based on engagement percentages, SponsorPulse data suggests the consumer categories that would stand to benefit the most from a partnership with NASCAR are fantasy gaming websites (68%), cryptocurrency (66%), smart electronics manufacturers (59%), banking institutions (59%), and telecommunication providers (59%).

On the digital front, the two platforms that excite the highest percentage of NASCAR fans are Vimeo and Pinterest, as 40% and 39% of respective users respond positively to the stock car racing series and what it offers.

Interestingly, NASCAR receives a SponsorPulse Opportunity Score of 57 among WeChat users in the USA, making it the eighth ranked property overall in the country when filtered by the Tencent application.

Using consumer data, marketing managers can narrow their focus into the areas where they can expect to see the greatest return on their investments. By applying filters and digging deeper into the data, this opens the door to potentially much more compelling stories.

Daytona 500's national momentum

The Daytona 500, often thought of as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, is so much more than a 500-mile motor race. The 'Super Bowl of stock car racing', the Daytona 500 is unique in that it traditionally opens the NASCAR series calendar each year. The race was most recently won by Michael McDowell after a near six-hour rain delay, which unfortunately also meant the race scored a record-low TV rating, reaching an average of 4.8 million domestic viewers.

However, during the rain delay, Ross Chastain and McDonald’s conducted (possibly unintentionally) one of the most creative sponsorship activations in recent history. Chastain, who drives the Number 42 ‘McDonald’s car’, went through a McDonald’s drive-through wearing his racing suit and ordered food for his entire team during the delay. The employee at the window was surprised and excited to see Chastain, asking if he was coming from the racetrack. Chastain joked with the employee before explaining: “I race the McDonald’s Car, number 42.”

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The video went viral on social media and found its way onto many news outlets across the USA. Whether intentional or not, Chastain's McDonald's trip was just one example of many great activation efforts around the race that contributed to growing interest in NASCAR and the Daytona 500.

For brands and teams looking for ways to connect with fans who have a budding interest in the Daytona 500, the following are the top five digital platforms where users claim their interest in the Daytona 500 will increase over the next year: Lyft (19%), LinkedIn (18%), Amazon Prime Video (18%), Facebook (16%) and Pandora (16%).

In the USA, the Daytona 500 receives a SponsorPulse Opportunity Score of 15 and is engaged by 38% of the population at least once a year, making it the 98th ranked property overall in the country. Males aged 40-49 score the highest in our sponsor-impact metrics, as one-in-ten claim they would favor and consider purchasing from brands that sponsor the Daytona 500 in a way that they like.

So much has changed since the last time the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. was with us. New systems, advanced technologies, increased safety standards and measures, as well as an international interest that continues to grow each passing year. There are also new business opportunities, more innovative and strategic partnerships, and a push for NASCAR to become more inclusive than ever before.

However, there are two things that will never change as the NASCAR racing community continues to evolve. The respect and reverence for Dale Earnhardt Sr.; and the passion for racing automobiles.

Finishing races is important, but racing is more important.

- Ralph Dale Earnhardt Sr