NASCAR Car Wash Pins Hopes on Brand Loyalty

First location to sport racing brand opens in Romeoville, Ill.; more opening this week

Photo Credit: Dawn Kasper

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. -- The first of several NASCAR Car Wash locations has opened in Romeoville, Ill., in the Chicago area just in time for the Chase for the Sprint Cup race September 18 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Car washes in Matteson and Aurora, Ill., are scheduled to open this week.

The car washes were operating under different names, but the official switch will happen Thursday, September 15, and Friday, September 16, when the NASCAR signs go up, added a report by the Chicago Tribune. A grand opening celebration featuring two NASCAR drivers will take place at the Romeoville site on September 15. Car washes in Joliet and Naperville, Ill., are scheduled to open next year.

With reflagging and groundbreakings in Chicago and across the Midwest in the coming months, the company expects to wash 10,000 cars per location each month, employ an average of 40 people at each wash and has projected growth of approximately 30 to 50 locations in the Midwest markets of Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and upper Indiana by 2016.

Last year, Dan Dyer, CEO of 1903 Car Wash Co., dba NASCAR Car Wash Co. (NCW), secured exclusive rights to use the NASCAR logo to market car washes across North America and the U.S. territories.

"NASCAR fans are so brand loyal," Steve Timmer, managing director of NASCAR Car Wash Midwest, told the Tribune.

According to July 2011 NASCAR Fan Council research cited by the company, more than three-quarters of fans take their cars to an automotive facility that is affiliated with NASCAR. And according to Ipsos research, fans' connection to NASCAR sponsors is actually rising in hard economic times. NASCAR fans are 30% more likely than nonfans to own three or more vehicles and are 30% more likely to have shopped at automotive-focused stores in the past year, according to Experian Consumer Research, Simmons National Consumer Survey, Fall Full Year 2010. According to Ipsos Brand Tracker 2010, 84% of avid NASCAR fans agree that when they see the NASCAR logo on something, they know it will be a quality product.

Timmer said success will come down to customer service and a little bit of timing: "50% of our business is impulse," he told the newspaper. "If there are two choices in the area and you're cruising by, you're going to say 'All right, I know that name,' whether you're a fan or not."

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport – with more of the top 20 highest attended sporting events in the U.S. than any other sport, and is the No. 2 rated regular-season sport on television. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and in 20 languages.