Derrick Cope Gains Sponsors

Four Sara Lee brands to sponsor Bahari, Cope CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 12, 1999) Derrike Cope and Bahari Racing welcomed Jimmy Dean, Bryan, State Fair and Rudy's Farm onto the NASCAR Winston Cup Series scene with a bang Tuesday. In an extravaganza...

Four Sara Lee brands to sponsor Bahari, Cope

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 12, 1999) Derrike Cope and Bahari Racing welcomed Jimmy Dean, Bryan, State Fair and Rudy's Farm onto the NASCAR Winston Cup Series scene with a bang Tuesday. In an extravaganza worthy of Las Vegas, the No. 30 Pontiac team and the four brands from the Sara Lee Corporation announced one of the most innovative sponsorship packages in the sport's history.

Jimmy Dean will be the primary brand in 19 races, including the season-opening Daytona 500, Feb. 14 at Daytona International Speedway. Bryan will be featured in eight races, beginning with the 400-mile race Feb. 21 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. State Fair Corn Dogs will be the primary sponsor in six races as well as The Winston Open, and will debut March 7 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Rudy's Farm will appear once, in the season-ending NAPA 500, Nov. 21 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The four Sara Lee brands were associate sponsors on the No. 30 in 1998.

Bahari and Sara Lee revealed not only the plans for the brand rotation, but also the four paint schemes the cars will carry. The event, hosted by ESPN's Benny Parsons and Matt Yocum, featured flashing lights, pumping music, a shower of balloons, confetti, and much more.

Each car has a two-tone paint scheme designed by renowned NASCAR artist Sam Bass. With the exceptions of the colors and the logos on the hoods, the schemes themselves are nearly indentical. The Jimmy Dean car is black and gold, the Bryan car is black and red, the State Fair car is blue and yellow and the Rudy's Farm car is blue and white.

Cope, known as one of the most business-savvy drivers on the circuit, was delighted with the unusual campaign.

"This event is indicative of just how special this sponsorship program really is," Cope said. "I'm honored to be associated with Jimmy Dean, Bryan Foods, State Fair and Rudy's Farm and this unique four-part sponsorship.

"This is the most innovative concept that I have seen and I think that it is going to be a model for corporations in the future. It's truly exciting to be on the cutting edge of sponsorship programs like this and I'm proud to be a part of this team."

The program is not completely unprecedented, but it is the first time such a plan has been marketed in this way. The Cartoon Network has consistently rotated various shows on its cars, but each new show is a surprise until it is unveiled. General Mills rotated several of its brands on the No. 26 last season, but that car was marketed primarily as the Cheerios car.

The four brands will rotate as primary sponsors on Rider's Pontiacs in 1999, moving up from associate status in 1998.

"Bryan, Jimmy Dean, State Fair Corn Dogs and Rudy's Farm all got a taste of NASCAR Winston Cup racing last year and they all wanted to take a bigger bite in 1999," said Jerry Laner, Sara Lee Group CEO. "We're excited to be affiliated with team owner Chuck Rider and driver Derrike Cope because they work as hard for a sponsor away from the track as they do on the track. We believe our sponsorship is one fans will find unique and exciting."

"Bryan, Jimmy Dean, State Fair Corn Dogs and Rudy's Farm are all excited about marketing their brands through racing in order to sell more products," Rider said. "They're all going to play a tremendous part in allowing Derrike to run at the front this season. We're intent on giving these companies the desired return on their investment."

Rider is entering his 12th season as owner of Bahari Racing. His teams have won five Bud Poles, posted 69 top-10 finishes and accumulated more than $7 million in prize money. The team had a disappointing 1998 for a variety of reasons, finishing 40th in owner points -- only Rider's second time outside the top-25.

However, hopes are high at Bahari for 1999, not only because of the sponsorship but because of Cope's health. The veteran driver was injured for much of 1998, but says he has almost fully recovered.

"I feel pretty good," Cope said. "I still have a little soreness in my shoulder, but it typically stretches out. Through working out, I think I've gotten back to where I was. Really, I do feel good. I've lost some weight, I really feel like I'm ready to get back in the race car.

Source: NASCAR Online

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup