JAN 22, 2009 UPDATE: JONATHAN WILL BE WITH THE DRIVE FOR DIVERSITY PROGRAM AGAIN THIS YEAR, AND WILL BE WITH FADDEN RACING IN THE NUMBER 16 CAR
Temperatures looming near zero don't bring visions of NASCAR dancing through our heads, but many of the drivers are thinking of nothing but preparing for the 2009 race season. Although you can find Camping World East's Jonathan Smith snowboarding on the slopes, don't let his winter fun and games fool you.
Jonathan has been working hard during the off season to find more sponsorship for his ride this year. As a sophomore at Connecticut University, Jonathan has put his studies on hold to focus on his racing career this season.
Smith will make his official team announcement at the NASCAR media week event being held in Charlotte, NC this Thursday. However, Jonathan did say he was honored and excited to be with a team that has "proven themselves in the series, having won the several championships in the past few years."
This will be his third year in the East series and he is confident that the third time is the charm. "I think we've pulled it together this year. We have an amazing team and they are just great to work with," said Jonathan.
With more sponsorship still being sought, we may see Smith turning up the heat on the Nationwide circuit, beginning with the Richmond race in May. Entering the Nationwide series is on his "to do list" this season. He is currently talking to several potential sponsors in an effort to reach beyond the East Series for his first taste of the Nationwide experience. Jonathan is looking for the deal that will make this dream a reality.
Although Jonathan's team has the funding to run a full Camping World East series, he says that additional sponsors would enable them to "step up our program and be a championship contender and venture into other series like Arca and Nationwide." Money talks and sponsors can give a driver like Jonathan the equipment and top of the line tools to break out of the pack.
Being fairly new to the world of NASCAR, I asked Jonathan in an interview, what difference additional sponsorship makes for a team that's already in the loop? He told me that each additional sponsor provides the team with the funds to acquire better quality, state of the art tools needed to be competitive, the ability to run fresh engines at each and every race and other resources needed to be competitive with more established and better funded teams.
Yes, money does talk and it can definitely translate to performance on the track where seconds can make the difference between a season to forget and one to remember. Many talented drivers lose that edge to the sponsorship game.
Jonathan Smith is a marketer's dream. The 22 year old's good looks, charismatic personality, and determination are sure to attract new sponsors we haven't seen in NASCAR before. He represents the incoming wave of young drivers, earning their way to the Sprint Cup series.
He brings with him a new generation of NASCAR fans who are waiting to see what labels will grace the panels of his ride this year. In the mean time, Jonathan is still working hard behind the scenes to attract more sponsors as he trades his snowboarding gear for his fire suit, helmet and the familiar call of "Gentlemen, start your engines!"
Keep your eye on this rising star.
Update Thursday after the press release of the new teams and sponsors. Stay tuned!
If you are interested in learning more about Jonathan Smith and how your company might benefit from a sponsorship opportunity, you can contact him at:
or Fadden Racing at