Posted: Thursday February 13, 2014 5:42 PM

AutoTrader.com and Kelley Blue Book enter NASCAR

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - AutoTrader.com is entering NASCAR with two different teams and its Kelley Blue Book brand.

AutoTrader.com has joined Team Penske as the primary sponsor for Joey Logano at the July race at New Hampshire. The online company will also be an associate sponsor on Logano's No. 22 Ford for the entire season.

Kelley Blue Book has joined Hendrick Motorsports as the primary sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Sonoma in June and as an associate sponsor the rest of the season. Kelley Blue Book is a subsidiary of AutoTrader.com.

Both brands had relationships with Hendrick Automotive Group and Penske Automotive Group, and used them to venture into NASCAR for the first time.

''We've looked at NASCAR over the years and felt like this was a good time to jump in,'' said Jessica Stafford, senior director of consumer marketing for AutoTrader Group. ''This gives us the ability to speak with and engage with the avid NASCAR fans and get into a sport where it is about associating with cars.''

The deal with Penske is for three years and Hendrick's deal is for two, and coincides with a new advertising campaign AutoTrader.com will launch this summer.

''AutoTrader.com is one of the most popular online solutions for buying and selling new and used vehicles, and over the last several years, we have developed an outstanding partnership with them through Penske Automotive Group,'' said Roger Penske. ''We believe that this racing relationship will help build additional value for the AutoTrader.com brand.''

More than 17 million consumers visit AutoTrader.com each month to research their next vehicle purchase, and Stafford said one-third of that traffic comes from the so-called millennial generation, which fits with the 23-year-old Logano.

Earnhardt Jr., welcomed Kelley Blue Book to his No. 88 Chevrolet.

''As a car enthusiast and dealership owner, I've trusted them for years for vehicle valuation and information,'' he said.

Rick Hendrick, who operates more than 120 dealerships across the country, said he's worked with Kelley Blue Book for many years.

''NASCAR is a terrific marketing platform for their products and services, and it presents new opportunities for our companies to work together,'' Hendrick said. ''We're excited to welcome a new partner and team them with an incredible spokesperson in Dale Jr.''

 
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