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DATE News (chronologically)
11/25/09
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Earnhardt, Bickford and Reid to speak at driver marketing summit
“If only I had sponsorship or could get involved in a driver development program,” are words often muttered by race drivers who have found success at the lower levels of auto racing but are now looking to make their way up through the ranks.

Performance PR Plus’s third annual Driver Advancement Marketing Summit set to take place in Charlotte, N.C., on January 30 – 31, 2010, is designed to provide valuable information and insight from industry professionals on topics that include obtaining sponsorship, driver development programs, stepping-stone racing series and how to use public relations, websites and social media to promote yourself and sponsors. Speakers will offer valuable information and answer any questions that attendees have about marketing themselves and the many off-track components necessary to have a realistic chance to advance, and what needs to be considered before making life-changing decisions around a career in motorsports. Kelley Earnhardt, vice president and general manager of JR Motorsports and business manager for brother Dale Earnhardt Jr., will discuss how JR Motorsports selected some of the young drivers such as Brad Keselowski who have competed for their organization, and how even she has had to become more creative in this difficult economic time to secure sponsorship for the most popular driver’s race team. Having started out as a late model stock car driver herself and now considered one of the most powerful people in motorsports, Earnhardt’s experience in nearly every aspect of the sport will provide valuable information to drivers at any level of competition. John Bickford, vice president of Jeff Gordon, Inc., is the stepfather who had the wherewithal to make many strategic decisions and coach a young Jeff Gordon on and off the track from the age of four. Bickford has mentored other young drivers along the -2- way, including Boston Reid who competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as part of Hendrick Motorsports’ driver development program.

Bickford will share his vast knowledge and experience as it relates to what drivers need to think about now, some of the pitfalls and roadblocks that may exist, and how to be strategic about career choices. As the cliché goes, every driver aspiring to compete at the highest levels of motorsports wants to be “the next Jeff Gordon” and Bickford is responsible in many ways for developing Gordon into the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion that he is today.

Along with Bickford, Reid will be on hand to talk specifically about making those strategic decisions and how his immense commitment and off-track efforts landed him at Hendrick Motorsports. He will talk about where he is now and provide insight about how development programs at the highest levels work and advice on how to get there.

An industry professional who seeks sponsorship for a living, Michael Burch, who works for Bruton Smith as the vice president for business development for Speedway Motorsports, Inc, will talk about best practices for approaching sponsors, how to qualify companies as potential sponsors and how to make sponsorship proposals all about providing a return on investment for prospective companies. Burch will talk about what to include and -- as importantly -- what not to include in sponsorship proposals.

Other speakers will be announced as they are able to commit. Past speakers include NASCAR’s Jim Hunter, FOX Sports’ Matt Yocum and Lowe’s Home Improvement’s Gray Abercrombie. Like speakers will be added to include a sponsor representative such as Abercrombie who will talk about how to approach a company like theirs for sponsorship and why they sponsor motorsports, along with a regional or national touring series executive and a member of the media to provide advice on interviewing techniques.

For more information or to register, please call (704) 377-8727 or visit www.performanceprplus.com and click on the Driver Advancement Marketing Summit logo. (PR Performance Plus Release)
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