Gov. Mark Warner will help to unveil the Hermie Sadler "Go Team Virginia" race car today, which will feature the paint scheme of Virginia Tech and three other state universities during the 2003 NASCAR season. The official announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 19 on the grounds of the State Capitol in Richmond.
"Needless to say this will be an incredible financial opportunity for each of the schools, but it will also be a chance for great national television exposure during the races," said Locke White, director of licensing and trademark administration for Virginia Tech. "In addition, this is a fine educational opportunity for students who will be involved."
Sadler, who drove the Virginia Lottery car last year, approached Virginia universities with the idea for the Go Team Virginia car several months ago. Each of the four universities involved -- Virginia Tech, James Madison University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University -- will take turns having its design on the car. Tech will be featured at least twice, during the March 23 race at Bristol and the October 19 race at Martinsville. Plans call for an in-car camera during the Bristol race. The Tech car could get a third race if enough Hokie fans join the Go Team Virginia club at www.goteamva.com.
The car serves an educational purpose. A team of Tech graduate marketing students worked to attract associate sponsors and are holding a promotion on the Virginia Tech Drillfield on March 20 (rainsite is the patio at the bookstore on campus). They are also planning a "pit crew challenge" as a post-race promotional. The students will work on merchandising and licensing of products and will also write a paper on what they've learned.
"This experience has been an incredible one," said Jessica Neal, team leader. "We have all had the chance to apply marketing and what we have learned in the classroom to the real world. And I will admit it is not as easy as the books make it sound. I think this has been very educational for our entire team."
Tech will also earn royalty money from sales of licensed goods and from associate partners on the car.
In addition, because Virginia Tech is helping Sadler with the sponsorship program, the Tech car will be featured in the new NASCAR Racing 2003 Season video game from Sierra Entertainment. In the game, players have the opportunity to "drive" for any NASCAR team, giving Hokie fans a chance to race Sadler's Virginia Tech car against Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, or any other driver in the circuit.