Public Service Message Fits With 66% Of NASCAR Fans

Photo by Rusty Jarrett/NKP Photo

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage is a Who’s Who of corporate entities spread across 40 racecars with paint schemes and logos battling as much for fan attention as the drivers are for race wins. So, why would a Virginia-based charity with a mission of warning people to “Call before you dig” bring a hot air balloon to Bristol Motor Speedway and display its message on the rear decklid of Joey Logano’s No. 22 Penske Ford?

Because not only does NASCAR work for corporate monikers and advertising, the Common Ground Alliance’s data shows NASCAR fans are the same people who tackle home projects themselves rather than relying on a contractor. Thus, a simple message of “Know what’s below” and “Call before you dig” could be a life-saving note for the Do It Yourself NASCAR fan.

“It’s kind of hard to miss here at Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Common Ground Alliance (CGA) V.P. of Communications Khrysanne Kerr, as she stood in the shadow of a giant hot air balloon that could be seen from just about anywhere in the fan zone. “We are here to try and convince people to know what’s below by looking up in the air as we talk about Call 811 and safe digging. It’s a free service anywhere in the country. If you call 811 and notify the utilities in your area, they come out and mark the approximate location and you can dig safely.”

NASCAR fans need not worry if they didn’t get a chance to check out the 811 hot air balloon as it will be in Kansas, across the street from Kansas Speedway during the playoffs. It’s been on a cross-country expedition to help CGA get its remind people of the group’s message.

With the second BMS race of the season occurring on a Saturday night, it’s likely some fans may have been working around the yard prior to rounding up the family and heading to the track. And even if they waited until Sunday to install that sprinkler system, set a post of a basketball hoop or bury an invisible fence to keep the canine contained, if they called 811 a few days before, they already know where it’s safe to work.

“Our data shows that people who are going to dig, watch or attend a NASCAR race,” Kerr said. “There are millions of miles of buried pipe and cable below the ground and they are not buried that deep. And a lot of homeowners, when you think about ‘Call before you dig’ they don’t excavate they just dig. But if you are bringing out a shovel, a hoe, a trencher – this is a free service, just plan it into your routine a couple of days ahead of time and keep your community safe and connected. These are vital resources we rely on for ourselves and our families to keep us safe.”

Upwards of 66-percent of NASCAR fans are DIY-ers, so when Logano’s car rolled off the grid with the 811 logo across the trunk, in a space donated by Shell-Pennzoil, it was Kerr’s hope that people would see it and think twice before making a costly, or even deadly, mistake.

For Logano, he has been sharing the 811 message since the days when he was sponsored by Home Depot. And, now it’s a message his current sponsor, Shell-Pennzoil, carries forward as part of its own commitment of using its position in NASCAR to help the community.

“It makes sense for us to be here as a general reminder to always put safety first, for projects big or small, make that call to 811,” she said. “You know, we are non-profit … and we have about 1,800 members and Shell is our original platinum sponsor and they continue to carry the message 10 years later here with the 811 logo on the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford driven by Joey Logano and they come together with these bright ideas to really make our message memorable. There is a lot of clutter in the advertising arena and how do you stand out? How do you make sure you get your message in front of the right people at the right time?”

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