In the first part of the article, we analyzed the presence of cryptocurrency and NFT-related brands and services on the current Formula 1 starting grid. Let's go below to take a closer look at how this sector approaches the main disciplines of American motorsport: Nascar and Indycar.
The United States, as is often the case, has played the role of the pathfinder: back in 2014, for example, the Doge Coin community on Reddit managed to raise the amount needed to sponsor a NASCAR car for a championship race. It must be said that the dynamics of the series allow teams to participate in only one race, a sequence of them, or the entire year. Therefore, one should not be surprised if on the grid the participants and colorations vary in a significant percentage at each round.
The Doge Coin-themed car was specifically Josh Wise's Ford Fusion, and some 1,200 investors donated 65 million Doge, the equivalent of $55,000 at the time. The car, renamed 98 Moonrocket and emblazoned with the iconic Shiba Inu dog image, raced the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4. Since this is a cryptocurrency born from a meme and followed by a large community the operation has been repeated on several occasions up to last year. First in 2015, in Sonoma, again in support of Josh Wise. More recently with Stefan Parsons' No. 99 car in the cadet series, the Xfinity Series.
Baby Doge Coin
Also last year and still in the Xfinity Series, another meme coin found a way to be represented on the track. In fact, the Baby Doge Coin sponsored Brandon Brown's No. 68 Chevrolet Camaro in the Atlanta event. What is special about this cryptocurrency is that it was created basically for charity with the goal of saving dogs in need. Participation in the race, coupled with the unfailing interest from Elon Musk, helped to increase the attention around the project.
The same weekend saw the presence of another virtual currency-themed team but in the top category, the Cup Series. It was Garrett Smithley's No. 53, fielded by Rick Ware Racing. The featured brand is SEED Token, a platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors in crypto.
In the cryptocurrency-themed sponsorship landscape, however, there are those who have done more. For example, Landon Cassill last year reached an agreement with the exchange platform Voyager that included a brand presence on his Chevrolet Camaro for as many as 19 races of the Xfinity Series season. In addition to this, the driver's entire compensation was disbursed in Litecoin and Bitcoin, going into a portfolio of digital assets. Cassill is one of the most aligned figures on the topic of new currencies within the NASCAR landscape and has maintained ties with industry luminaries for years.
His partnership with Voyager sees considerable expansion this season. In fact, Cassill has signed on for full-time participation in the Xfinity Series and a "promotion" for a schedule of a few races in the top series with the Spire team.
Cassill himself continues and expands his involvement in the digital world through his partnership with Storm X. There are five races in the 2022 Xfinity Series season in which the Iowa driver will bring that brand's gaudy colors to the track. Storm X is a leading cryptocurrency cashback app that also has a Chrome extension. The agreement with Kaulig Racing also includes Cassill's participation in exclusive promotional events.
Starting in 2021, the Roush Fenway Racing (now RFK) team has formed a partnership with the most fashionable fan token company, Socios.com. Indeed, the stable has identified the release of $ROUSH Fan Tokens as a great way to recover some of the revenue lost due to the pandemic. Made from the Chiliz blockchain, they allow buyers to interact with the team through voting, chat, games, VIP access, prizes and numerous other benefits. The business relationship, highlighted by specific liveries adopted during some races, continues into the current season.
Lilly Finance is a company that leverages its own cryptocurrency to support projects related to medical research and startups. In 2022 it tied up with the Alpha Prime Racing team by sponsoring Caesar Bacarella's car in some races of the Xfinity Series season. The relationship with the U.S. driver also continues in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo.
Across the board, Bitcoin has found its way into NASCAR through a two-pronged strategy. By placing its logo on Bubba Wallace's car and suit as part of a broader initiative involving Cash App, an application developed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. In Esport by entirely decorating the livery of one of the cars engaged in the virtual racing championship.
When in early 2022 JJ Yeley expressed his desire to run the early-season classic, the Daytona 500, he may not have imagined that he would become a key player in one of the financial transactions symbolic of the rise of cryptocurrencies. In fact, one of the investors of HEX.COM, a platform for deposits and investments in this type of coin, took the ball and through a tweet generated record fundraising. The message read more or less:
"I was asked if I know a company that could sponsor a team in NASCAR: I don't know a company but I know a community."
In just 5 days the amount reached $640,000 enough to secure MBM Motorsport's chance to run the race. Unfortunately, the driver failed to get on the grid having been overtaken at the last corner of the qualifying race by Kaz Grala. Almost as if it were the plot of a movie, the latter's car also counts among its sponsors an industry reality.
We are talking about Omni, a blockchain-based social platform that is among the supporters of The Money Team Racing (TMTR), the stable of boxing champion Floyd Mayweather.
In its first release, the app could count on more than half a million downloads, and participation in the Great American Race greatly helped boost its popularity. The intent of Omni Chief Marketing Officer Brent Johnson is to create an ever-closer link with Mayweather and his activities. Also featured on car number 50 is the logo of Momento NFT, a social network that allows users and creators to exchange and share special content. Its CEO, Julian Rodriguez, described the partnership with Mayweather's stable as Nascar's landing in the Metaverse.
Kitty Kat Coin
Emerling Gase Motorsport also decided to capitalize on the echo of the first race of the year by fielding as many as 2 cars with Kitty Kat Coin insignia. The sports-themed cryptocurrency is present on major exchange platforms and has created a specific ecosystem to support the motorsport venture. Drivers Shane Lee and Joey Gase then raced their cars number 53 and 35 in the brand's yellow and black colors but reversed. To be more true to the "feline" theme, the black-based 35 was renamed Team Panther, while the yellow 53 Team Leopard.
Among the figures we see on the track later this year, precisely in eight races, is former Formula 1 driver Tarso Marques. The Brazilian driver will make his Cup Series debut on July 3 in Team Stange's No. 79 Ford. Supporting the venture is blockchain developer Dignity Gold creator of the DIGau token and specializing in mining investments. The 79 is not random being the atomic number proper to gold.
However, there are also more sensitive and community-based implications. The campaign carried out by the Kauling Racing team together with Cure Token is a good example of this. Indeed, it involves participation in the race at the Kansas Speedway on Sept. 11 as the final act of a fundraising initiative through the purchase of dedicated NFTs.
Cure Token's goal is to bring attention to the issue of childhood cancer by helping to support research and help families. Noah Gragson's No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will therefore wear the orange livery of the brand founded by Jacob Beckley.
Sports marketing giant Fanatics has decided to make its entry into the NFT business: it has for the current year initiated a partnership with the major championship teams (the 12-team Race Team Alliance) through the Candy Digital brand. That partnership involved the creation of thematic NFT specials on 23 cars and their drivers, made available in the week leading up to the Daytona 500: prices started at $50 each. The incredible number of over 83 million customers undoubtedly represents a new opportunity for the star-studded series.
At the same time, Wax also decided to release a series of NFTs dedicated to Nascar and reserved for ticket holders. The 500 available digital assets were "contested" among about 25000 customers who received emails directly from the series organization.
The Bitcoin brand, perhaps best known to the general public when it comes to cryptocurrency, took center stage in 2021 in one of the most important events in U.S. motorsports. The number 21 Dallara Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Racing competed in the Indianapolis 500 with a livery entirely occupied by the coin's logos. Rinus Veekay completed the race with an excellent eighth place finish-with an impressive 32 laps in the lead-giving even more visibility to the operation. Former driver and team owner Ed Carpenter has long been a proud supporter of cryptocurrencies and extolled the initiative and the world of blockchain.
It is no coincidence that this year his team will carry the insignia of no less than 2 digital currency brands for the entire season. The marketing program involves the financial holding company Bitnile supporting Team ECR through the Earnity brand. The latter involves an interesting marriage of social media and decentralized finance whose purpose is to simplify the world of digital assets for the general public. These are platforms of growing popularity that may soon occupy a role in the lives of a large number of users. Earnity CEO Dan Schatt's ambitious goal is to reach an audience of at least 900 million people. Of note, pilot Conor Daly will be featured in an incentive program by awarding bitcoin rewards upon reaching certain goals.
Didn't see the first part of the article dedicated to Crypto and NFT sponsorships in Formula 1? You can find the link here!
If, on the other hand, you are interested in learning more about this topic with a view to possible collaborations, go to our dedicated section!