DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. – “We’ve always made a heck of a highway truck and that’s never truer than today,” said Mack Trucks vice-president of marketing John Walsh, “and this partnership allows us to continue to get that message out to make sure that the industry and customers are taking a close look at Mack.”
That Feb. 16 announcement was that Mack had signed a multi-year deal to become the official hauler of NASCAR – a partnership that means Mack has provided 11 of its Pinnacle sleeper models to transport equipment throughout NASCAR’s 10-month, 36-race season, logging an estimated 450,000 miles during that time.
“Mack and NASCAR are two fundamentally American brands, and we couldn’t be more excited to join forces and serve as the ‘official hauler of NASCAR,’” said Walsh. “This partnership enables us to get Mack, our trucks and our technology in front of millions of NASCAR fans, a significant number of whom are part of the transportation industry.”
About half of the trucks Mack provided to NASCAR are axle-forward, with the other half being axle-back. The fleet boasts Mack’s 13-liter MP8 engine, Mack mDRIVE automated manual transmission and GuardDog Connect, a telematics system that maximizes uptime.
“It gives us a chance to demonstrate the capabilities of our entire sleeper line on the highway side,” Walsh said. “They all have gold bulldogs, and what that means for us is Mack engine, Mack transmission, Mack axles (and) a fully-integrated Mack pedigree powertrain. We are providing to the sport the best-of-the-best when it comes to the Mack highway offer.
“It’s fair to say that these are custom-designed to the needs and requirements of the sport.”
Walsh said the partnership was a no-brainer for Mack from a business perspective, as it provides the company several avenues to parade its product before those in the trucking industry.
“Our primary intent in getting involved with this partnership is to grow our business,” he said. “That’s why we’re doing it. It gives us the chance to put our brand in front of millions of people both at the races as well as through the other channels that NASCAR uses to engage with its fans. These are fans that are extremely loyal, not only to the sport of NASCAR, but also to the official sponsors like us, so there’s a level of loyalty here that’s really unprecedented.
“And, if you take a deeper dive into that fan base, the fan base includes a significant number of what I’ll call transportation industry decision makers…folks who play key roles into determining which brand of trucks their companies operate. The fan base also includes a significant number of truck drivers, and there’s a severe driver shortage in our industry today, and it’s become an increasing concern of our customers.”
Walsh added that NASCAR did have some ‘unique’ requirements when it came to the trucks Mack provided, but meeting those requirements were no issue for the company.
“It wasn’t a big deal for us to meet them,” he said, “because that’s what we do every day.”
Walsh said Mack talks about ‘application excellence’, which means the company designs its trucks to do exactly what its customers want them to do.
Walsh said the partnership with NASCAR would also allow Mack to exhibit a product the company needs to bring to the forefront.
“We sometimes get pigeon-holed as a vocational truck maker – a victim of our own success on the construction and refuse side – but we’ve acknowledged that we have some work to do on the big sleeper part of the market,” Walsh said. “It’s traditionally about half the market here in the United States…it’s a focus area for us.
“This partnership allows us to further communicate and demonstrate the value of Mack to those two key audiences – decision makers and drivers. It also allows us to provide to our customers what I’ll call up-close and unforgettable looks at the sport that only official partners can provide.”
Mack revealed its partnership with NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Fl. to a small group of media outlets – Truck News being one – prior to the official announcement, which was made during NASCAR’s media day at the Daytona International Speedway.
The Daytona 500 was the inaugural trip for NASCAR’s fleet of Mack Pinnacle sleeper models, which Mack says are built for any challenge the open road can throw at it.
“The Mack Trucks brand has been a part of American culture for more than a century and is globally recognized for manufacturing a best-in-class product,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice-president and chief marketing officer. “The custom-designed Pinnacle models are masterfully engineered and we are proud that they will lead the NASCAR convoy to the track each race weekend.”
“This is a very significant announcement for us,” Walsh added, “because our dealers are energized around it and our employees are energized around it.”
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