Jelly Belly and Jim Inglebright to Part Ways at Seasons' End (Fairfield, Calif.) - The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will not be as colorful next year as Jelly Belly and Jim Inglebright have announced they will be part ways at seasons' end.
Jelly Belly and Jim Inglebright to Part Ways at Seasons' End
(Fairfield, Calif.) - The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will not be as colorful next year as Jelly Belly and Jim Inglebright have announced they will be part ways at seasons' end. Inglebright has run the past two years with Jelly Belly on a limited basis and was hoping to go full time in 2002.
"This was a decision predicated more on the new direction with our advertising program, "said Robert Simpson, president and chief operating officer for the Jelly Belly Candy Co. "It had nothing to do with Jim and the performance of the team. In fact, we exceeded all of our marketing objectives these last four years. Above all, we consider Jim to be family and will always root for his success."
The Jelly Belly Candy Co. first came on board with Inglebright and the Roadrunner Motorsports team back in 1998 when Inglebright was running part time in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series. He won three times with Jelly Belly as primary sponsor, twice at the Sears Point Raceway in 2000 and 2001 and once at the Phoenix International Raceway in 1999, a place where Inglebright made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut. Inglebright also claimed victory in the inaugural NASCAR RE/MAX Challenge Series event at the Pikes Peak International Raceway.
"I am proud that I was able to be associated with the Jelly Belly Candy Co. and be a representative for them in motor sports," said Inglebright, who has 15 career starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "I only wish we were able to run a full season and given the opportunity, to show the real benefits in motor sports marketing. Still, I have gained so much out of this, not only in knowledge for my future in motor sports and marketing but I have built friendships with people that I value very much.
"It has been and will continue to be a very strong relationship," said Inglebright, who recently celebrated his 19th wedding anniversary with wife, Valerie, his high school sweat heart. "Valerie and I are good friends with the Rowland family and all the people at the Jelly Belly Candy Co. They are still very supportive and have said that if they are able to help in any way, they will do so."
Simpson and other officials at the Jelly Belly Candy Co. are assisting Inglebright and his Roadrunner Motorsports team to secure sponsorship for next year and beyond. They have written a letter of recommendation to anyone interested in associating themselves with the team.
"We've had probably the best relationship you could hope to have in a sports marketing relationship," said Simpson, who says his most memorable moment was Inglebright's second-to-last-lap pass for the lead in the 2000 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series event at the Sears Point Raceway. "Jim and Valerie as a team have been able to help market and promote our brand in a way that has helped us accomplish all of our objectives. That is why we chose them in the beginning. We had no idea that they were this capable and this committed to helping us. No sponsor could ask for a better individual to represent its brand. I hope whoever sponsors Jim gets as much value out of their association as we have."
Inglebright, who started racing motorcycles at age 12, says he is looking at several options for next year.
"My future is up in the air right now," said Inglebright, who has competed in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series since 1993. "I would like to stay in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series or try the Busch Series, if possible. But if nothing comes up, I will probably be a spectator next year.
"We still have two races to go under our agreement with Jelly Belly and I'm very optimistic about these last two races of the season," said Inglebright. "I'm starting to understand these trucks and how to drive them the way they need to be driven. We're running good and Rodney Haygood, my crew chief and I are working better together. We've got a great team and a great program."