Saturday, October 16, 2021

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The Coca Cola 400 at Daytona?

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By Joe Dunn /

For 27 years the July race at Daytona International Speedway has been known as the Pepsi 400. On July 9, International Speedway Corporation announced that they had signed a long term (10 year) sponsorship agreement with Coca Cola.
Under the terms of the agreement, CCNA brands will become the “Official Soft Drink,” “Official Sparkling Beverage” and “Official Water” for 10 of ISC’s wholly owned and/or operated motorsports facilities; as well as the DAYTONA 500 Experience, the Ultimate Motorsports Attraction.
Although the announcement does not specify the name of the July events, it does include ’entitlement rights’ to the July Nextel (Sprint) Cup and Busch events, it will surely include the Coke brand in the titles.
The race that started in 1959 as the Firecracker 250 was originally scheduled as a USAC open wheel race, but a bad wreck in an earlier race that year prompted the track owners to cancel the USAC race and change it to a NASCAR race. In 1963 it was expanded to 400 miles and the name changed to the Firecracker 400. The race was always held on July 4th regardless of the day of week. In 1985 Pepsi took over the title sponsorship and three years later the date was changed to make the race a Saturday event. In 1998 the even debuted as a ‘Night Race’, but because of a series of wild fires the race was postponed until October. Since becoming a night race it has become a highlight race of the summer.
Other tracks included in the contract are Chicago Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Michigan International Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.
“This new relationship ranks among the most significant marketing partnerships in ISC history,” said ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. “It also further demonstrates the significant value of our asset base including premier facilities, events, intellectual property and operational support services. We welcome Coca-Cola to the ISC family and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
“While Coca-Cola has enjoyed a storied history in auto racing, today marks a exceptional milestone as Coca-Cola, the world’s number-one sparkling beverage, will soon be served at Daytona International Speedway, home of ‘The Great American Race,’ as well as some of the finest facilities in all of motorsports,” said Sandy Douglas, president, Coca-Cola North America. “Together with our bottling partners at Coca-Cola Enterprises, we look forward to refreshing race fans at ISC properties with the greatest beverages in the world, and creating best-in-class marketing programs with ISC that bring fans even closer to the sport they love.”
The agreement will eventually include Darlington, Talladega, Watkins Glen and the Phoenix tracks with Coke products having exclusive ‘pouring rights’ at all of the facilities.

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