There is a huge number of NASCAR fans who believe the crashes are the best part of the sport. While these high-speed crashes can be exciting, I would assume NASCAR drivers probably feel pretty differently about crashes. That is, except for maybe NASCAR Xfinity driver Josh Bilicki, who landed a sponsorship with Sargento Cheese after crashing into an ad for the company at Road America.
You can get a NASCAR sponsorship by crashing
THE BIG ONE AT ROAD AMERICA!— NASCAR on TSN (@NASCARonTSN) July 2, 2022
A massive crash is sparked after @NoahGragson spins @SageKaram in front of the field as there's no where to go.@brandonbrown_68 made major contact with @TylerReddick, hoping he's ok.#NASCAR #Henry180 pic.twitter.com/Ll7ZZufp7L
Bilicki’s crash was a bit on the nose. Road America is in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, which shares its home state with Sargento. So, when the NASCAR Xfinity car maneuvered to avoid a crash, it crashed into the on-track Sargento sign. The memes practically made themselves. To complete the scene, it’s worth mentioning that Bilicki, like Sargento, is also a Wisconsin native. That’s what we call synergy.
“When we saw our sign on the front of [Bilicki’s] car, we had the same reaction as many others,” said Louie Gentine, the big cheese at Sargento. “We like to have fun, so we’re excited to partner with the Wisconsin native for this upcoming race [at Watkins Glen].”
NASCAR will always find the marketing opportunity in any situation
As the quote suggests, the upcoming race at the legendary Watkins Glen circuit will see the 45 car dressed in a fresh yellow and black cheese-themed livery. According to CarScoops, Bilicki splits his time between driving the Number 45 car, in which he’ll race at Watkins Glen, and the Number 44 car, in which the incident occurred, in the Xfinity Series.
The large multi-car crash erupted in a cloud of dust and car parts as multiple drivers collided with each other, walls, and at least one Sargento sign. Sargento could have planned a better commercial than the one they got. When Bilicki ran off the course to avoid the pile-up, he emerged from the cloudy mass onto the track carrying the Sargento sign on the front of his car like he was leading a high school band in a parade.
“I am excited for this opportunity to partner with Sargento at Watkins Glen Raceway this August,” said Bilicki. “As a native Wisconsinite, I have enjoyed Sargento products for many years. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason, including my recent run-in with the Sargento sign. I am thankful to be welcomed into the Sargento family and to represent a Wisconsin-based company in my upcoming race.”
NASCAR drivers do some crashing when right-hand turns are on the menu
You may have noticed that this NASCAR race looks a little different than what many are accustomed to. Unlike the typical oval courses that have come to define the racing series, NASCAR drivers sometimes compete in road courses like real racing drivers (it’s ok. I’m from Alabama; I’m allowed to say that.)
But as anyone who has watched a NASCAR road race before, you know that big crashes are seemingly inevitable. NACAR drivers are highly skilled athletes that keep control of a 200 mph car for hours at a time. These folks aren’t messing around. However, the big oval track racers require different skills and headspace than road racing. NASCAR road races are always fun and exciting. However, they don’t tend to end with this much goofy fun.