It started with a tweet by Camping World CEO and board chairman Marcus Lemonis who, after hearing that Coca Cola Company was exiting its agreement to sponsor NHRA’s professional divisions (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle) this year instead of its intended contract end in 2023, tweeted to the series that he would be interested.
NHRA responded by stating the series has been “camping since 1951.” From there the conversations grew ever more serious and during Sunday eliminations at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Pennzoil, the agreement was announced as finalized.
The series will henceforth be known as the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. “I look at NHRA and I see a growing and loyal fan base,” Lemonis said. “NHRA recognizes the product it has in the sport of drag racing and its responsibility to serve its fans. We at Camping World look forward to this new relationship.”
It’s an optimal time for change at NHRA as it prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary at the beginning of its next, 2021 season and Camping World, which started to offer specialized products and accessories for recreational vehicle owners and campers in 1966, celebrates its 55th year serving the outdoors enthusiast.
“Camping World has a strong history in motorsports, and we can’t wait to introduce them to the incredible action of NHRA’s 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph racing,” said Glen Cromwell, NHRA president. “Our fans, drivers, teams and partners are thrilled about the potential of this relationship as we welcome Camping World as a partner and entitlement sponsor for the NHRA and its premier series.”
Although the length of this multi-year agreement, which came together almost as quickly as an NHRA Safety Safari oil-down cleanup, hasn’t been disclosed, the sponsorship alignment parallels NHRA’s recent good news announcement of a continuation to its broadcast agreement with FOX broadcast network and Fox Sports 1 (FS1).
It’s expected that Camping World’s integration into the NHRA community will bring added opportunities for both entities. Camping World, which has more than 160 locations throughout the United States, will have a significant presence at NHRA national events. The company also returns to sponsorship of NASCAR’s truck series begins in 2021.
ETA 8:20 a.m. 10/5/20: An earlier version of this article stated that the sponsorship agreement would begin immediately, which is not the case. This has been corrected.