NASCAR Drivers Hold Pajama Party

August 24, 2005

NASCAR drivers in pajamas are not normal sightings, but there they were - four of them - sporting designer PJs and matching slippers.

Looking like they just rolled out of bed were Gregg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jeremy Mayfield, arriving at a quaint Charlotte, N.C., neighborhood to star in a series of TV commercials for Goodyear Gatorback automotive belts.

The new campaign, developed by Goodyear Engineered Products and Malone Advertising, both headquartered here, delivers a humorous message from some of the race circuit's best known drivers, targeting passenger and light truck owners, as well as professional and do-it-yourself mechanics.

"Stock car racing is a natural hook, since NASCAR officially licenses Goodyear's automotive belt and hose lines," said Eric Ball, the company's advertising manager. "Studies show that sports fans look for products tied to NASCAR."

Ball said NASCAR has a brand-loyal U.S. fan base of 75 million people, which is one-third of the adult population. "They're three times more likely to buy products affiliated with the race league and used by drivers," he said.

The theme of the advertising campaign is Gatorback Delivers and calls for drivers to make early-morning appearances on front porches of side-by-side homes. They retrieve belts delivered by a bike-peddling, bell-ringing youngster carrying a bag full of Gatorback Poly-V belts, throwing them paperboy style.

At the end of each commercial, an announcer proclaims, "Nothing delivers like Goodyear Gatorback belts; these guys wouldn't start their day without it."

Ball said the drivers had fun acting in the commercials and wearing specially designed pajamas displaying team colors, graphics and car numbers. "Maybe we should hold a contest to give away a pair of the one-of-a-kind autographed outfits," he said.

Goodyear has been supplying belts to NASCAR for 24 years. Today, Gatorback belts are found under the hood of every NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racecar, driving alternators, camshafts, power steering, and water and oil pumps.

The belt's helicog tooth pattern resembles the back of an alligator and helps clear sand and other track debris, while running cooler and lasting longer than a conventional belt. "They are the same straight-from-the-shelf belts that fans can purchase at auto parts stores," said Ball.

He would not reveal details of the airing schedule for competitive reasons, but said the ads will air on network race programming during the remainder of this season and beyond.

TV ads can be viewed by visiting

Hi-resolution photos available at

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