DALLAS (Dec. 11) -- As economic purse strings continue to tighten in a sluggish U.S. economy, Top Fuel driver Don Lampus Jr. has found a creative new way to fund his operation. Lampus has entered an exclusive three-year marketing agreement with ...
DALLAS (Dec. 11) -- As economic purse strings continue to tighten in a sluggish U.S. economy, Top Fuel driver Don Lampus Jr. has found a creative new way to fund his operation. Lampus has entered an exclusive three-year marketing agreement with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the world-renowned non-profit organization, to spread the group's message through a proactive campaign that will become a regular feature on the NHRA tour.
The crusade will be centered on Lampus' 6,000-horsepower Top Fuel machine and will be funded entirely by corporate sponsors, who will back the entire operation through contributions. Lampus' dragster will prominently display a new "Racing Program for MADD" (RPM) logo in a primary position with corporate donors filling in the associate slots.
"We're extremely happy and proud to align ourselves with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their message," Lampus said. "We are hopeful this unique program will bring new corporations into the sport of drag racing that might not have gotten involved with auto racing in a conventional manner. We're excited about the possibilities.
"We all know about MADD and we know they don't want people to drink and drive, but I can tell you they are much more than that. A study was done that credits MADD with saving nearly 200,000 lives since the organization's inception in 1980. If we can extend that message to the NHRA audience across this country and save even one more life, than it will all be worthwhile."
The idea for this program was the brainchild of Cragg Eubanks of RaceSportLtd.com, who comes to the NHRA after several years of sponsorship development with CART's Team Bettenhausen.
"The NHRA has grown so quickly over the last few years that it has become impossible for company's to resist," Eubanks said. "We'd be reading our exposure reports for CART and we just couldn't get over the reach NHRA had in the United States. The value for dollars spent in NHRA is the best in motorsports, bar none.
"I saw a real opening both for Fortune 500 corporations and smaller organizations to become involved. However, the facts are that most of them have only limited knowledge of the sport of drag racing. I knew we needed to find a way for companies to get involved without them having to bite off the entire funding bill. So we have devised a way for companies to be a part of a championship-caliber team without spending millions of dollars. This is a perfect gateway. We're ready for all comers. The fact we can help MADD and their cause just makes the whole thing feel that much better for everyone involved."
MADD has over 2 million supporters and volunteers around the world. Their primary mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime, and prevent underage drinking. Through the use of Lampus' dragster and a huge interactive display trailer, MADD hopes to reach each of the estimated 2.5 million fans that attend NHRA events every year. The additional coverage the team will get on television will further help extend their message to the masses.
"I like to say that we have more than one mission now," Lampus said. "I've gone to school with the folks at MADD and the work they are doing is phenomenal. They aren't militant about not drinking, they just don't want kids to drink, period, and they don't want anyone else to ever drink and drive. It's a simple but crucial message. Here's a chilling fact for you: underage drinking kills 6.5 times more young people than all other illicit drugs combined. That's the sort of message we want to remind people of every day.
"The shows at the interactive display trailer are awesome. There are actually two shows. One is called "Street Smarts" and the other is called "Fake ID." Both of them are filled with movie stars and musicians. They are extremely effective."
Lampus should have no problem attracting attention to his team. The always-smiling 37-year-old from Dallas is a crowd favorite across the country and has proven to be a formidable opponent on the race track. Most recently, he collected the 2000 NHRA Rookie of the Year award. Prior to that accolade he won the 1999 IHRA Top Fuel World Championship and the 1996 SCORE 1-2 Class off-road world title. He was also named as a Toyota Milestone award winner in 1996 for completing all 2,600 miles of the SCORE circuit.
"Our goal will be the same as it's always been: to win the POWERade championship," Lampus said. "But we also hope to gain as much attention as possible for MADD and all of the corporate sponsors who will be backing this RPM program. I truly believe the companies who get involved with our team will fully realize the potential of NHRA drag racing. Hopefully, we'll open so many eyes in corporate America that everyone will benefit from this deal. And, like I said, the message we're spreading from MADD is vital to our kids and our future.
"This is truly a win-win situation. The response we've gotten already has been great but we need more corporate involvement to really get behind this thing 100-percent. I can't wait to get started."