CI gears up for NASCAR

NASCAR Busch Series driver Donnie Neuenberger is to take a Cayman Islands branded car in to a major race later this year.

Arch Automotive and Spectrum Promotions Ltd., along with Style 96.5 FM are sponsoring the Cayman Islands name and logo branding and the entry of the car into a major race. In return, the Cayman Islands gets recognition as a tourist destination from one of the most watched sporting events around the world.

Miller II and III

The father and son team of Ned Jerris Miller II and III restored this 1992 Corvette to pristine condition.
Photo: Cliodhna McGowan

Mr. Neuenberger, who was a special judge at the Texaco International Auto Show at the Lions Centre on Saturday, explained how the sponsorship deal came about.

‘Craig Arch of Arch Automotive has sponsored me for 10 years and he thought that for tourism and getting the Cayman Islands name out to the US that racing was an important avenue in which to do that.’

Mr. Arch said the Cayman Islands would become the first Caribbean island, and if fact the first country in the world, to have a NASCAR car.

Speaking on behalf of Spectrum Promotions, Angela Martins, who along with husband Dave Martins own Style 96.5 FM, said they were excited to be involved with the sponsorship of the Cayman car.

‘From the perspective of marketing the Cayman Islands as a brand-distinctive tourist destination, NASCAR represents an excellent opportunity,’ she said.

Explaining that NASCAR is the number one spectator sport in the world, the driver went on to say the Cayman Islands branding deal is something that had been in the pipeline for the past eight years.

Although Mr. Neuenberger said he could not disclose the one-time budget amount that had been given to him in the sponsorship deal, he said if the promotion of the Cayman Islands goes well, perhaps the Government could step in with some further marketing dollars in the future.

In addition to the specially branded car, the project involves personal appearances by Mr. Neuenberger, race coverage on US media, pit passes for media and recognition of the Cayman Islands in NASCAR promotional materials and advertisements.

The NASCAR Busch Series driver, who hopes to step up into the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series this year, is no stranger to the Cayman Islands, having been a top guest for the Quincentennial Car Show.

‘I love coming here. I feel like it’s my second home,’ enthused the friendly Maryland native, affirming that he would certainly be back to the Cayman Islands in the future.

It is hoped that the car, a Chevy stock car formerly driven by NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., will have its new Cayman Islands look by mid to late summer, and Mr. Neuenberger is keen to then bring it back to Cayman show it off.

Mr. Arch said he was going to sponsor Mr. Neuenberger anyway and thought giving the Cayman Islands recognition would be the right thing to do.

‘What good does it do for me to put my name on the car?’ he said, adding that he believed ‘something good was going to happen’ as a result of the sponsorship.

Here as the special guest of Saturday’s car show, Mr. Neuenberger said he was impressed with the variety of cars at this year’s show, as he was during the Quincentennial Show.

‘Back in the States I tell people ‘You would not believe the variety of cars in the Cayman Islands’. It is amazing the range of different style cars here. There is more variety here than at a car show in the US,’ he commented.

The all-day car show on Saturday was a great success and was well attended by members of the community. Show organisers were Spectrum Promotions and Style 96.5FM and there were many sponsors, including Cayman Free Press.

The show featured a wide range of state-of-the-art 2006 vehicles from Cayman’s car dealers; show cars; vintage cars; performance cars; trucks; jet skis; bikes; car accessories; information on auto services available locally, along with entertainment, food stalls and a bouncy castle for the young ones.