Montana shop manager and Carquest rep win NASCAR experience in SKF promotion

Two lucky winners and their guests were recently treated to a unique NASCAR experience at Talladega Superspeedway, located north of Talladega, Ala. Mike Murphy, shop manager for Lewis & Clark County in Helena, Mont., and Lonny Larson, sales representative for CarQuest locations in Helena and Butte, Mont., won the SKF Lubrication Business Unit’s (LBU) third-quarter PowerLuber promotion.

Customers who purchased any Lincoln PowerLuber model between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2013, were eligible to enter the Lincoln PowerLuber Pick Up the Pace contest. The winning customer’s name was drawn from the entries, and the customer’s distributor representative also received a trip for two, which included airfare, hotel, pre-race hospitality, pit passes and the opportunity to watch the Penske racing team in action.

“My shop has been purchasing Lincoln battery-operated grease guns for years,” said Murphy. “The road and bridge crews use them constantly and even have chargers in their trucks. But winning a trip like this just for buying a tool is truly unbelievable.”

“I’ve been selling Lincoln products for most of my career, and they’re top quality,” said Larson. “But I never dreamed that my connection to the Lincoln brand would provide me with this type of experience.”

“The entire weekend was incredible,” said Murphy. “I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I’ve been to the races before, but on this trip we had garage passes, pit passes and even were allowed to attend the pre-race drivers meeting.”

The two men and their guests were hosted by SKF LBU Regional Sales Manager John Holl, but enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the speedway with Tara Masten, account manager of HB&M Sports. Masten works with a number of active sponsors across the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and has years of experience in racing. She was able to introduce the winners to many notable personalities and their families.

“Touring the speedway with someone involved in the sport was a bonus,” continued Murphy. “Misty and I were able to meet many of the drivers and other key personnel. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We’re still trying to soak it all in!”

Penske racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. was scheduled to drive the No. 12 SKF Ford Fusion in the Talladega 500, but rain cancelled qualifying and the car was not able to run due to the rules. However, Murphy and Larson were able to meet Penske racing drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

The winners and their guests were given access to the garage, track and pit row and were able to see first hand the preparations made on race day. When the cars hit the track, the group was invited to the pit box, where they watched the entire event.

According to Murphy and Larson, it was interesting to view the race from the pit box. They were seated next to Logano’s crew chief and were able to hear the different drivers’ conversations over headsets.

“Watching the pit crew in action was fascinating,” said Murphy. “Even though the processes themselves aren’t complicated, everything in the pit has to go smoothly in order for the team to have a good day on the track.”

Participating as a NASCAR sponsor has been an exciting addition to SKF’s marketing plan. Besides the brand exposure gained via the races, television, etc., the sponsorship through Penske Racing provides opportunities to entertain customers at NASCAR events.

“The acquisition of Lincoln by SKF has been very positive,” said Larson. “Being part of a larger organization with ties to NASCAR provides increased exposure for the brand, which is important to me as a distributor.

“The entire trip was first rate, and I was happy to get to share it with my son Dylan,” continued Larson. “Experiencing the race from the pit box and being right next to the car while it was in the pit was thrilling. I’ve seen it many times on television, but there’s just no comparison.”

Established in 1910, the Lincoln brand is a world leader in the manufacture and sale of lubrication and pumping equipment for industry. As part of the SKF Group based in Gothenburg, Sweden, the SKF Lubrication Business Unit headquarters is located at One Lincoln Way, St. Louis, Mo. 63120.