For several years now drivers and teams have worked diligently to win the Bud Pole Award, which allowed them to enter the Bud Shootout at the beginning of the season. This year, as with most things in NASCAR, this has changed. There was an entirely new format for the Bud Shootout this season and many question the need to be in the top spot since qualifying and racing are two different things.
In November O’Reilly Auto Parts became the official auto parts store of NASCAR and with them came a new award. The “People, Service and Performance” award will recognize team efforts made on the track and in the pits. The Sprint Cup and Camping World driver who records the fastest lap time and lowest cumulative pit stop time of the event will be the award winner. In order to be eligible the driver must remain on the lead lap. In the event of a tie the driver with the highest finishing position of the event will win the award.
The Sprint Cup winner will receive a check for $5,000. The team and driver who win the most awards throughout the season will receive a $100,000 year end bonus. The Camping World winner will receive a check for $1,000. The team and driver who win the most awards throughout the season will receive a $10,000 year end bonus.
O’Reilly signed a multi-year agreement with NASCAR and will sponsor 5 NASCAR events in 2009, including the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 in Phoenix on November, 15th. O’Reilly believes that this award will recognize two essential attributes of the sport, teamwork and performance.
NASCAR is one of the few professional sports leagues that have created an automotive-specific marketing program for its family of automotive sponsors. This is called the NASCAR Performance brand. Under the NASCAR performance brand automotive partners like O’Reilly are able to build awareness and sales for their brands through several media programs.
Some of the media programs include, the NASCAR Technical Institute which trains automotive technicians for the workforce; The NASCAR Performance Network, which is a network of quality automotive repair shops and parts stores; NASCAR Angels, which a TV reality series that repairs the cars of deserving people; The NASCAR Performance television show on Speed; A national radio show on MRN and Sirius XM and print and online media programs like NASCAR Scene and NASCAR.com.
O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment and accessories in the United States, serving both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. The addition of O’Reilly auto parts to the NASCAR stable of sponsors will create a lot of opportunities for both parties involved and the contingency award they have announced will help to fill the void of the Bud Pole Award.