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Runnin’ Wide (Format) Open In NASCAR –Cagle

February 2011
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Gentlemen, start your wide-format inkjet printers!

The calendar says it's mid- February, and that means two things. One, pitchers and catchers report to Florida and Arizona for baseball's spring training. Two, gearheads unite as the sports world sets its attention to South Florida for the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of NASCAR.

Yes, there is something truly wrong about a sport that opens its season with the equivalency of the championship game but, in racing, the season is laboriously long and (honestly) few people care about NASCAR in November, when Jimmie Johnson is crowned with title after title. So, opening day gets all of the attention; that's just as well.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an anti-racing snob. I've followed the career of Jeff Gordon since he broke on the scene nearly 20 years ago. NASCAR is a sport that relies on the strong ties formed between its advertisers and fans, the latter of which are fiercely brand-loyal. And there are a number of ties between the printing community and NASCAR, particularly for manufacturers of wide-format printers.

Mutoh Industries, which manufactures piezoelectric printers, sponsors a pair of Rusty Wallace Racing (RWR) cars that compete in the Nationwide series. In 2010, those cars were driven by Steve Wallace—Rusty's son—and Brendan Gaughan. The accompanying photo above shows the RWR cars in action.

Last November, Mutoh treated some of its employees to the Phoenix race and provided them with pit passes. They had the opportunity to see the cars up close and admire the work performed by RWR's 64˝ Mutoh Valuejet 1614 printer.

Roland DGA also announced that it has been recognized as the exclusive printing manufacturer for Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Three of the contending 2010 Sprint Cup championship drivers—Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Boyer—are in the RCR stable.

Graphically, RCR uses Roland wide-format inkjet printers and cutters, including the Soljet Pro XC-540MT and the VersaCAMM VS. The gear is part of RCR's new Graphics Center in Welcome, NC, where Roland will participate in training classes, dealer meetings, product demonstrations and other events. The center produces, among other things, wraps for RCR's inventory of racing cars, trucks, show cars and delivery vehicles.

There have been a number of printing-related companies that have provided sponsorships to NASCAR drivers over the years. Denny Hamlin finished second behind Jimmie Johnson for the Sprint Cup title while driving the No. 11 FedEx Express (Kinko's). Kodak has sponsored a number of drivers over the years, including Ryan Newman. Paul Menard has enjoyed the backing of Vertis Communications, and various paper companies (Georgia-Pacific, Mead Corp./NewPage) have attached their names to these high-flying machines.



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