The 2014 Indy 500 was one of the most exciting and unpredictable races in recent memory. From Will Power’s record-breaking win to Dario Franchitti’s valiant but ultimately futile attempt at catching him, the race was full of nail-biting moments. What I love most about this year’s Indy 500 is how many different angles there were, both in terms of the racing and the stories that surrounded it. Between Helio Castroneves’ heroic comeback and Tony Stewart’s controversial return to racing, the Indy 500 had it all. As a Geico fan, I was especially keen to learn more about how the insurance company became the title sponsor of the famous Brickyard Classic. So here’s how does Geico sponsorship work, and what does it mean for the average Joe Six Pack, to have the world’s most prestigious auto race as their favorite event. Let’s also touch on the other sporting events that Geico sponsors, as well as the types of cars that they favor.
The Brickyard Classic Is Named After The Insurance Company
As a lifelong New Yorker, I am very familiar with the phrase, “the corner of Broadway and 82nd Street.” For those of you who may not be, this is the area in Manhattan, known for its restaurants, theatre, and variety of shops. What makes this intersection special is that it is the meeting point of three major streets, Broadway, Madison, and Amsterdam. As the crow flies, this is the site of the Indianapolis Speedway, the home of the Indy 500. So it is only fitting that one of the most storied sports events in the United States has its name attached to this famous intersection.
The Indianapolis 500 has been a part of the city’s sporting culture ever since the first race was held here in 1909. According to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website, “the Indianapolis 500 has continued to grow and evolve to meet the needs of modern-day racers. Today, there are several different classifications of the race, including the legendary Indianapolis 500, the Freedom 500, and the Indy Car Grand Prix.” In order to keep up with demand, the speedway built a temporary track, known as the “Brickyard,” in 1926, which was the precursor to the current facility. Over the years the term “Brickyard” has stuck, and the Indianapolis 500 is now referred to as the “Brickyard Classic.”
The Trademarked Slogan “As Fast As You Can Put Fuel In, The Cheapest Ticket Available” Has Been Registered By The Speedway
Another one of the fascinating aspects of the 2014 Indy 500 is that Geico has been the title sponsor of this prestigious race since 1997. When the insurance company first reached a sponsorship agreement with the Indianapolis 500, they did so without any kind of slogan or identity. It wasn’t until 2013 that they came up with a slogan, “As Fast As You Can Put Fuel In, The Cheapest Ticket Available,” which is emblazoned on all of their marketing material, including T-shirts, hats, and umbrellas. This is a play on words, as one of the things that makes the Indy 500 so special is that the race is won with ‘fuel in the tank’ and not ‘air in the tank.’ Put simply, a driver can win the Indy 500 with any type of vehicle they choose, but they have to be within certain parameters. The fuel limit is 55 gallons, or a gallon per car. Anything more than that, and the car becomes a ‘time-charger,’ which is a vehicle that is specifically designed to go faster than any other machine within the field. Most of the cars that compete in this year’s Indy 500 are within the 55 gallon limit, so it is essentially a conventional racing event. However, the fact that some of the machines are running on empty might explain why there were so many incidents of mechanical breakdowns.
The Biggest Crowds To Catching Up In Hot Dogs, Corn On The Cob, And Soda
Another interesting fact about the 2014 Indy 500 is that it was one of the largest crowd-drawers in recent memory. For the three-day event, which took place on May 30th, 31st, and June 1st, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway reported that they had a total attendance of 565,874 people. This was 20,000 people more than in 2013, which was the previous record-holder. In order to put this number of attendees into perspective, consider that there are only 443,000 active registered voters in the state of Indiana, and therefore this means that roughly 75% of the eligible voters came out to vote, which is very impressive.
One of the reasons why the crowd was so big was that there was a wide variety of food and drink available for purchase. According to the Indianapark Speedway website, “over 80 vendors will be providing food and drink options for all tastes.” In addition to the traditional hot dogs, corn on the cob, and soda, there will also be a variety of Asian (including Japanese, Chinese, and Korean), Mexican, and American cuisine available. For those of you who are still wondering what Geico’s marketing slogan means, it essentially refers to the fact that the company sponsors several racing events that take place all over the world, including the Indianapolis 500, the Grand Prix at the French Open, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In order to capture the attention of sports fans and car enthusiasts, Geico’s advertising agency designed a series of visual assets, which include; TV and radio ads, billboards, and digital billboards, to matchmaker with their brand value proposition, “As Fast As You Can Put Fuel In, The Cheapest Ticket Available.””
Other Sporting Events That Geico Sponsors
In addition to the Indy 500, Geico also sponsors several other types of sporting events, including the Daytona 500, the Coors Light Pole Position Challenge, and the IndyCar Grand Prix. In each case the company’s name appears on the front of the program or the event’s website in order to promote their products or services. For example, if you visit the Daytona 500 website, you will see that the first thing that greets you is a car with the Geico logo on the front. The reason why these other events attract so many spectators and participants is that they are relatively low-cost alternatives to the Indy 500. Races for smaller cars tend to attract more people, which is why almost all of the major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, are preceded by smaller races, known as ‘warm-ups.’ So this explains why a Geico car can be found in the pre-race area at the Daytona 500, and also at the IndyCar Grand Prix.”
What Type Of Cars Does Geico Favor?
According to a study by the marketing research company, Dataguides, Inc., Geico has a wide variety of vehicles associated with their name. Some of these include, cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans, vans, and even an ‘ice cream truck.’ As a company that sponsors several different types of racing, it is not surprising that they would favor different cars for each event. In fact, since 1997, they have been associated with some pretty legendary racing vehicles, including the Reynard 88, the Smart Forfour, and the Honda RA286.
One of the most interesting facts about Geico’s automotive preferences is that almost all of their cars and heavy vehicles are custom built. This is somewhat unusual, as most car companies have a type of automobile that they promote. For example, Ford usually goes for pickups, Chevy for classic cars, and so on. When it comes to Geico, there are no two cars, trucks, or SUV’s that look alike. This is because each of these vehicles is built with a specific purpose in mind.
The truth is that Geico has a very “niche” following, which is possibly why the company has been able to remain in business for so long while others have gone under. If you want proof, take a look at the sales figures for the vehicles that the company has chosen to sponsor. In most cases the cars that they have chosen are either limited-edition models or special order vehicles that they build for specific customers. Therefore, while the average Joe Six Pack may be able to attend the Indy 500, they will most likely not be able to purchase a stock or standard model Geico car, as these are limited-production models.