DuPont’s once robust NASCAR hospitality program suffered enormous cuts last year, but the longtime #24- Jeff Gordon sponsor is back in 2010 with more guests and events at each track. Just a few years ago, DuPont had the largest hospitality program in NASCAR, hosting guests at every race on the Sprint Cup circuit, a number that reached 20,000 people a year. Their guests ranged from body-shop owners who used DuPont paint to building contractors who bought the Tyvek brand of house wrap. The company would bring as many as 1,000 people to a race, and virtually the entire focus of the sponsorship was based on creating business-to-business activity. DuPont entertained customers with meals, question-and-answer sessions with Gordon and bags of swag, all the while making new relationships or deepening existing ones. But DuPont hospitality was largely a casualty of the recession in 2009.
Instead of entertaining at all 36 Cup events as it had done in the past, DuPont cut back to six races and 2,000 guests, 10% of what it used to do. DuPont wasn’t the only corporate entity slashing its spend. Tracks reported that revenue from hospitality was down 20 to 25% last year. What DuPont discovered, though, was how important the hospitality program was to its sales. So in 2010, it’s back with hospitality events at 23 races, and it’ll entertain 4,000 to 5,000 guests. Those numbers are still a fraction of what used to be the biggest hospitality program in NASCAR, but it’s a start.
DuPont’s revival in 2010 comes at a pivotal time in its sponsorship, having renewed its league deal as the official auto finish, a distinction it has had since 2003. The team deal with Gordon and #24 car owner Hendrick Motorsports expires at the end of this year, and renewal discussions are ongoing, although it’s uncertain if DuPont will maintain its current commitment level as the primary sponsor for 75% of Gordon’s Sprint Cup races. National Guard and Pepsi are the other sponsors on Gordon’s car. DuPont owns the longest-running driver-sponsor-owner relationship in NASCAR, having sponsored Gordon since he first started driving the #24 in 1992.