February 5, 2010: Nascar has added a new category to its plethora of affiliations, but one with more cause marketing motives. The racing circuit has partnered with Drive4COPD, a public health initiative designed to raise awareness of and financial support for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a progressive ailment that makes it increasingly difficult to breath. Drive4COPD is led by founding sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim with partnering organizations including the COPD Foundation and the American Lung Assn.
According to the organizers, more than 16 million Americas have COPD, another eight million may be under-diagnosed and millions more may be at risk.
Under terms of the alliance, Drive4COPD has become the “official heath initiative” of Nascar. Drive4COPD will have exclusivity with Nascar for promoting health initiatives and enjoy direct access to Nascar fans and a range of fan event, marketing, public relations, research, and business-to-business assets available exclusively to official partners.
Drive4COPD will hold race entitlement for the season-opening Nascar Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 13, which will be shown on ESPN2. The Drive4COPD 300 will alsobe the starting point for Drive4COPD's “Race for the Missing Millions,” a four-day event that will cover 6,000 miles and make "pit stops" in 14 U.S. cities "to screen as many at-risk American as possible." The event will be spearheaded by race car driver Danica Patrick and celebrities including Michael Strahan, Jim Belushi, Patty Loveless and Bruce Jenner. (Complete details and "pit stops" are here.)
Nascar this season will provide materials educating fans about this disease and provide screening at Nascar Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races with a goal to screen one million people in 2010. As an incentive, fans will be encouraged to answer questions to determine if they’re at-risk for COPD. Participating fans may then enter a sweepstakes with the grand prizes being a VIP race weekend in July for the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona and a trip to the 2011 Daytona 500.
“Nascar cares about our fans, and we are very proud to partner with Drive4COPD,” Steve Phelps, svp and CMO for Nascar, said in a statement. “COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting an estimated 24 million people – half of whom are undiagnosed. Nascar fans have a history of being receptive to and involved in health initiatives, and we believe we can make a difference in this unique partnership with the Drive4COPD.”
Race For The 'Missing Millions' Travel Route