Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, is shown the black and white flag after ignoring the black flag during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

AMS completes long-term sponsor agreements

The NASCAR industry has had a couple of weeks of good fortune when it comes to securing title sponsors for major events.

On Tuesday, a week after NASCAR Chairman Brian France introduced Monster Energy as the title sponsor of the series now known as Sprint Cup, Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark announced that Rinnai America Corporation will be sponsoring his track’s Xfinity Series race.

The announcement gives AMS long-term agreements with title sponsors for its three major NASCAR races. Folds of Honor/QuickTrip is backing the premier Cup race, while Active Pest Control holds naming rights to the tracks Camping World Truck Series races. All three divisions return to AMS on March 3-5 next year.

Clark and Frank Windsor, COO of Rinnai America, said the sponsorship, unlike others in the sport, involves more than just the events surrounding race weekend.

Rinnai, a Japanese company that has its North American headquarters in Peachtree City, about 20 miles from AMS, plans to use the track throughout the year to entertain prospective customers and contractors.

Rinnai plans to bring its guests to the track, where they can take part in driving experiences in NASCAR cars on the 1.5-mile quad-oval, then view Rinnai products that will be installed throughout the facility.

Rinnai also will have events at other tracks across the country operated by AMS’ parent company, Speedway Motorsports.

Rinnai produces gas appliances, including tankless water heaters, which Windsor says make up just six percent of the market today. He plans to use NASCAR racing to help the company spread the word about its tankless water heaters. “We like to say that friends don’t let friends use tanks,” said Windsor, who has been following NASCAR races since the mid-1990s, when he was a Mark Martin fan.

Clark said he’s excited about the prospect of working with some new title sponsors.

“I think Monster Energy is going to bring some new energy to the sport,” he said. “I think we’re going to see some new forms of promotion, with some excitement to it that we haven’t seen in a while … and that energy and enthusiasm is something we need right now.”

He said the Rinnai deal is special to him because the company’s headquarters is just a mile from his home in Peachtree City.

“I’m really excited to have local and regional companies involved with us,” he said, explaining that Active Pest Control also is located on the Southside in Henry County.

Clark also said fan interest in the upcoming race weekend, the second since a switch to the second race of the season, is encouraging at this point.

“We’re well up on ticket sales,” he said. “I hope we can maintain that. Weather has a lot to do with it, but we’re off to a good start.”