Corona, California - July 26, 2013 - Mark Clark used to be a drag racer, so when he was looking for ways to build an identity for his young company it seemed natural to spend some of his advertising budget on motor sports.
"We've been doing that pretty much forever, using it to get our name out," said Clark, 51, the president and chief executive officer of Speedco Truck Lube and Tires, one of the diverse group of companies that have partnered with Lucas Oil Products in the innovative marketing platform known as Team Lucas. "We like the grass-roots type of stuff and it really hits our demographic pretty good."
Speedco's demographic is the American over-the-road truck driver who spends much of his or her life driving an 18-wheel tractor and trailer back and forth across the country. The company opened its first location in Effingham, Illinois, in 1991, incorporated in 1993 and today is headquartered in Cayuga, Indiana, and offers lubrication and tire services to the commercial trucking industry at 51 locations in 25 states.
Clark said Speedco never has spent much money on advertising in the print media because its "customer is never at home" to read the newspaper. Instead, "we do billboards – we have billboards across the country – and trade shows and a lot of social media and that type of thing."
The company tried something new recently by sponsoring a car entered by JR Motorsports and driven by Regan Smith in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicago. No other major NASCAR outings are planned for this year, but Speedco also sponsors JR Motorsports Late Model driver Josh Berry in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
This is Speedco's third year with Team Lucas, but Clark said the relationship between the two companies, and between he and Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas, dates back to Speedco's birth.
"We've had a great relationship from the inception of our business," Clark said. "We use their additives in our semis and I believe we're the largest installer of their products in the U.S. We like doing things together. They're a partner of ours, not just a supplier, and we look to do things together that help both our businesses."
Team Lucas is one of those things. The basis of the team approach is that the sponsorship money goes into a pool and is divided among all of the Lucas Oil series – Off Road, Modifieds, Dirt Late Models, Drag Boat, Drag Racing and so on – while still affording each sponsor an opportunity to focus more on one particular series.
For Speedco, that series is the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League. Clark said the Midwest-based pulling sports are enormously popular with the over-the-road truck drivers and Speedco acknowledges that by fully supporting two teams and sponsoring the Speedco Modified 4WD Truck division of the Champions Tour.
"I think the most commitment we have is with the Pro Pulling League, but with the Team Lucas concept the support gets spread out a lot," Clark said. "This is our third year (with the program). This came about from a conversation with Jamie Devney (the director of sales and marketing for Team Lucas, which began in 2007). We talked about it with him and got started from there.
"The tie-in with motor sports has been very effective, especially with the Team Lucas concept. For a company our size that's just worked tremendously well. There's good value in it with the exposure we get, and the grass roots racing that Lucas Oil is involved in is what the American truck driver loves."
By JIM SHORT