Rush Truck Center looking to renew NASCAR sponsorship, add races

Jason Cannon

December 18, 2013

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series #14 Rush Truck Centers photoshootRush Truck Center is working to finalize a deal with Stewart-Haas Racing that would keep the Texas-based truck dealership group on the hood of Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevy for the 2014 NACSAR season.

Rush CEO Rusty Rush said Tuesday the particulars of the deal are still being hammered out, but says Rush Truck Centers plans to up its sponsorship from three races in 2013 to five in 2014.

“It’s branding,” Rush says of the return on investment on being seen on the No. 14 car and Stewart’s fire suit.

Karen Konecny, Rush’s Vice President – Marketing and Communications, says according to NASCAR’s figures, the company averages 7 million viewers as a car sponsor, adding the company is pleased with both the results of the sponsorship and its affiliation with Stewart.

“We’ve more that tripled our investment in terms of brand exposure,” she says.

Outside of branding, Rush says the opportunity to treat some of his customers to NASCAR races has proven invaluable.

“It’s not just a race,” he says. “They get to go meet the man. They get to walk through the pits. And at the first race Tony gets into a fight with (Joey) Logano right in front of our suite. You can’t beat an experience like that.”

photo-4Stewart says his team’s relationship with Rush goes a lot deeper than just the paint scheme on his car. Rush also provides the team with five car haulers.

“There’s one way that we get to the racetrack each week and it’s with his trucks,” he says. “If we don’t have trucks that can get across country…we’re in big trouble with the schedules that we keep.”

Personally, Rusty Rush and Stewart have formed a friendship away from the track.

“The two of us are convinced that we’re brothers, or we’re related somehow,” he says, adding he appreciates that Rush understands his passion for the sport. The two also hunt together somewhat regularly.

“I didn’t know a lot about racing until I met him,” Rush says.

Stewart was in San Antonio Tuesday at the Rush Tech Rodeo, an event he deemed the technicians’ “all star race.”

Stewart helped honor the company’s top heavy- and medium duty technicians at the awards banquet Tuesday night.

As the 2014 NASCAR season looms, Stewart – who is rehabbing a broken leg – says he is “ahead of schedule” in his rehabilitation and fully expects to be ready to race at Daytona in February.

Stewart says he climbed into a race car Monday for the first time since August for a seat fitting.

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