The 60th annual edition of the Daytona 500, will be run on Sunday. JohnWallStreet will be in attendance, along with the 500 fans that Busch beer (BUD) is bringing to the event; providing coverage all weekend long (follow us on Twitter @HowieLongShort). Before we head down to Daytona, we got a chance to catch up with Kevin Harvick; who finished 3rd in 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. In Part 2 of 2 (link to Part 1 of interview), Kevin discusses his sponsors for the 2018 season, the significance of this particular race and the success of “Bloomin’ Mondays”.
JWS: The Daytona 500 is the biggest event on the NASCAR calendar. For those that are not NASCAR fans, can you try to explain why that is and the significance of the race?
Kevin: Well, it goes back to when they raced on the beach. This is the birth place of our sport. Bill France had a dream to build a really big racetrack and came and built the Daytona Speedway. There is no other race that matches the hype and there is no other race that matches that magnitude of winning the Harley J. Earl Trophy; putting your name on the list of Daytona 500 winners. It’s hard to explain the magnitude of it, until you experience winning the race. The celebration is different, you celebrate like you won a championship, because, basically you have. Winning the Daytona 500 can make a whole year.
JWS: If you must pick one, do you want to win the Daytona 500 or the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship?
Kevin: I want to win them both (laughing) but, I will tell you this, in 2007 when we won the Daytona 500, we did not have a great year; but, nobody remembers anything about that year except for, that is the year that I beat Mark Martin in the Daytona 500. It’s just that big. You have more sponsors show up, more celebrities show up, more fans show up, the TV ratings are higher, the radio ratings are higher, the exposure is greater and there isn’t anything about it that isn’t bigger.
JWS: Do you have any new sponsors in place for the 2018 season?
Kevin: Everything is pretty much the same. Jimmy John’s is on board again, Busch (BUD) is the other primary; along with Mobile One (XOM). Outback (BLMN) is activating heavily with their “Bloomin’ Mondays” (editor note: only program every Outback franchisee participates in) and they’re seeing a $10,000-$12,000 increase (in revenue, per store), pretty much every time we get a Top 10 finish.
Howie Long-Short: International Speedway Corporation (ISCA) spent $400 million on Daytona International Speedway renovations, for annual incremental EBITDA of just $15 million. That’s not an ideal ROI.
Fan Marino: Do you have a “most memorable” Daytona 500 experience, as a fan?
Kevin: I went there in 1995 for the first time and was in the grandstand going into turn one, watching the qualifying races. I grew up in Bakersfield, CA. I had never been to a racetrack of that size, let alone to the Daytona 500; so, to sit there and watch those cars go around the racetrack and to see all the cars you see on TV, it was eye opening. (note: Sterling Marlin won the 1995 Daytona 500.)
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