|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 18, 2015
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the executive vice president of Nature's Bakery, Sam Marson, and Dave Marson, the founder of Nature's Bakery, and Tony Stewart, driver/owner of Stewart‑Haas Racing.
Tony, it's a great day for our history at SHR. At 9 a.m. the team was told what was going on. A big piece of this puzzle is another piece of Stewart‑Haas Racing's future has been secured, specifically with the driver lineup. Tell us about that.
TONY STEWART: Well, we're proud to announce that we've extended Danica's contract, and also have two great partners up here that are going to be joining us for a multi‑year deal. Very excited to have Danica onboard for the future.
It's great working with her. Like I've said numerous times, she's probably the most detailed oriented driver I've ever worked with. Very excited to have her onboard for down the road. Just excited about this.
This is a great time in our sport. To bring a new partner onboard makes all of us at this really proud.
THE MODERATOR: Dave Marson, Danica's career continues to grow. Dave, your tagline is, Energy for Life's Great Journeys. Tell us about this journey with NASCAR, Danica and Stewart‑Haas Racing.
DAVE MARSON: This is a pretty special moment for us. We're a pretty young company. We've been in the business for a few years. But it's a pleasure to introduce Nature's Bakery to the NASCAR world, to Stewart‑Haas Racing, and obviously to Danica. What a genuinely authentic person to represent our brand.
It's pretty amazing. We are a normal American company that is living the American dream. We are extremely excited for this and we look forward to the adventure.
THE MODERATOR: Specifics of the Nature's Bakery sponsorship, starts in 2016, 28 races as the primary sponsor.
Danica, back with Stewart‑Haas Racing, a brand‑new brand with Nature's Bakery. A lot of responsibility, but it comes with a lot of authenticity. That's because Nature's Bakery makes products that suit your lifestyle. Talk a little bit about this partnership.
DANICA PATRICK: This is very exciting for me. Getting to know Dave and Sam has really shown me what great people they are and, of course, what great products they make, what great values they have.
I feel like our brands align so perfectly, it's kind of amazing. I think that journey is going to be really fun. I think there's going to be lots of exciting things that we can do together in the future.
Of course, on top of that, being able to re‑sign with Tony and here at Stewart‑Haas is very important to me. I really, really do feel like family here. I feel like there's nowhere else I want to be. I'm just fortunate enough that I didn't have to look anywhere else, that I get to stay, and that I have a great new sponsor.
THE MODERATOR: I want to introduce Sam Marson. There's a great story about how this whole relationship came about. It's a testament to Stewart‑Haas Racing and NASCAR as a whole.
Sam, just how did this day become possible.
SAM MARSON: It's exciting how it came about. It was through Haas Automation actually. We build a lot of our own baking equipment. So that relationship with my regional sales rep of Haas Automation got together and became friends. He happened to have a contact here at Stewart‑Haas Racing. The dialogue started.
It was kind of a crazy idea that we've made reality here today.
THE MODERATOR: We've got a great car. It's covered in foliage. We don't have an announcement, an unveil, without an actual unveil. I want to ask my friends here on the count of three to pull back that cover. Everybody ready? One, two, three.
Danica, what do you think of your new ride?
DANICA PATRICK: I feel like that's a really good color for me. Really good against my complexion. I think, also, to be serious, it's going to stand out on track. There's not quite a color out there like it and definitely not this much of it. I think it's going to stand out, which is important. More importantly, it's going to look great against my skin tone.
THE MODERATOR: Dave, Sam, this car will hit the track at Daytona in 2016. Your thoughts at this moment?
DAVE MARSON: Again, just a really special moment. I have my family here, my father, mother, wife. This is a dream come true. We've been NASCAR fans for 20 years. To be able to take what we do, make better‑for‑you foods, combine that with a love of NASCAR, I mean, this is special. I'm really enjoying this.
THE MODERATOR: A little bit of background. Nature's Bakery was founded in 2010 by Dave and Sam. Their lineage in the food industry goes back to the 1960s when Dave's father Richard opened a family bakery. Dave is here. Dave grew up in the bakery, passed the skills along to Sam. That entrepreneurial spirit is what gives us Nature's Bakery today.
I'll stop talking. I know there's a lot of questions here.
Q. Typically when you think of a sponsor for a NASCAR team, especially to do 28 races, you think of a Fortune 500 company or much more public company. Can you give us more background about Nature's Bakery, how many employees you have.
DAVE MARSON: Sure. We have about 420 employees. We have two plants, one in St.Louis, one in the Nevada area, representing about 400,000 square feet of manufacturing.
You can look at the size of our company and say we're either the up‑and‑coming guy who is going to be the next Fortune 500 company, and that's what we plan on being. We're taking and leveraging this opportunity with NASCAR, the NASCAR fan base, to look at our products and to grow and become one of those Fortune 500 companies.
We thank Stewart‑Haas Racing and Danica for believing us. We came to them with an idea and a dream. We said, We are the new up‑and‑coming company. Look at us and we'll show you what we can do. They believed in us.
We really look forward to the opportunity.
Q. You said the brands align perfectly. You can see that with your interest in health, Yoga, always wanted to write a cookbook. Talk more about the brand aligning perfectly that you just mentioned and how you move forward to get people to know Nature's Bakery like you did with Go Daddy.
DANICA PATRICK: Yes, just as you said, I really feel like all you have to do is look at my social media. I've always used that as a way to get to know me off the track. The things on track can be learned through all of you, whether they read it or see it. It's the things outside of the car that you would not necessarily know about.
I think all you have to do is look at that and that is what lines up perfectly with Nature's Bakery. It's going out and it's energy for your journey. It's going out on a hike with Dallas, doing Yoga at home, doing CrossFit and needing energy for that.
It's traveling. I mean, I'm always on the road. I always need things that are quick and handy. You guys all know that, too. Spending time on the road, you need snacks. Between that and their open‑mindedness to exploring all different kinds of ways we can work together.
They have big dreams and they want to align them with me and make them work with me. I think that's very exciting for me as a brand because I definitely have things that I enjoy and stand for. They're ready to embrace that and use that in the best way possible to get their product out there, get their message out there. And really I think that all those things just back up the backbone of the company, which is about lifestyle. It's using lifestyle to get the product out there and let them know what it stands for, right?
I'm excited about that. I don't even know what the scope of all the things that we're going to do are. I don't think you guys do either. That's the fun part, we're going to get to create that together. I think this day and age authenticity is hard to come by but easy to recognize. I think people are going to recognize that authenticity as we go along.
Q. Danica, did you talk to any other teams, have proposals from any other teams?
DANICA PATRICK: Did I talk to any other teams? No. You know, I really feel fortunate that I didn't have to. I knew this is where I wanted to be. I didn't get to that point really. So I'm grateful for that.
Q. Sam, can you expound a little bit more on the B to B relationship. I take it Haas is going to help you build your machines for you for your equipment. How does that work in terms of sponsorship?
SAM MARSON: We purchase Haas Automation machinery. We use their machinery in our company. We have our own machining and fabrication shop. We build most of our equipment to make our products. That's what gives us a leading edge on some of our competitors. We can keep up with rapid growth. We're not paying another company to build our stuff for us. We are doing it all in‑house, vertically integrated.
Q. Sam or Dave, are your products sold in all 50 states? If you're not a public corporation, do you plan to go public sometime?
DAVE MARSON: No on the public at this time. We're in every state. We're in 22 countries. We are a global brand. We intend to be in 40 countries over the next 24 months.
We have some very big plans to grow this brand.
Q. For whoever can answer this. What are the lengths of the deals for the extension for Danica and sponsorship? Danica, specifically, how validating is it to have this wrapped up with the team and the sponsor coming off such a long‑term relationship with Go Daddy as a sponsor?
TONY STEWART: As far as the term of the contract, we never disclose that at SHR with either our partners or our drivers.
It's a multi‑year contract. Like I said, we've got a great relationship with Danica, Dave and Sam, Nature's Bakery. This is something that is not a short‑term deal by any means.
Like we mentioned earlier, to grow the brand and to help these guys grow this company is not something that you do in a one‑ or two‑year deal. Real excited about having them onboard and having Danica onboard long‑term, as well.
DANICA PATRICK: This is really the first year that I've had to wonder or worry what I'm going to do in the next year. I've been extremely fortunate in my career to not have to think about that. One deal rolled into the next. There was not a lot of concern. So I've had a lot of comfort over a decade.
But I think this is a great reminder that closing a chapter can let a new great one open, one that could be even better than you expected. I think that's really the way that this turned out.
Q. Tony, can you speak to what Danica means to the team in terms of her total value rather than the results on the track. And, Danica, can you address what it means to remain with a team that you know is going to give you what you need to keep improving.
TONY STEWART: I think we've all been excited from day one. We all know what the value of Danica's brand is. As well, watching her from her IndyCar days, I realized how big a talent she is more than a marketing tool.
To have her as one of the drivers at Stewart‑Haas Racing, we're proud of her. We're proud of her progress. We're proud of what she does behind the racecar. Like I said, she's probably the most detail oriented racecar driver I've ever worked with as far as her feedback, attention to detail, describing what the car does, the feel she has in the car. She's much better at it than I am.
I think she's a great asset to this organization. I look at it more from the racing side than the marketing side personally.
But I just like working with her. She asks a lot of questions. She retains information really well. Like I said, she's so detail oriented, it makes me strive to be better at being a racecar driver than what we are.
She's a huge asset here.
DANICA PATRICK: Thank you, Tony.
I am just lucky to be at a team with drivers like Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. Of course, the talent beyond that with the crew chiefs, the crews, the pit crews. It's a great, fortunate place for me to be in. I have the ability to learn as much as I seek out. I also think that is rare within a team, that I have such great resources that are open books that will help me so much.
I believe that is what helps fast forward my learning curve at times. It really feels when I put emphasis on something to make it better, I can. I can because I can ask questions and get real answers. That is of infinite value to me. This is a very, very good place for me to be as a driver.
Q. Dave, were you looking at NASCAR in general? If you weren't going to sponsor Danica, would you have sponsored anybody?
DAVE MARSON: No, we weren't looking at NASCAR at all. My idea probably would have been a quarter panel or rear panel to start with. I never thought we would have been a full sponsor on a vehicle.
This really came about with my son's vision and the connection through Haas that led to the opportunity. The stars aligned and everything fit together just wonderfully. It was not a forced deal at all.
So it was really opportunity that came in front of us. We took advantage of that.
DANICA PATRICK: I've heard Dave say, and Sam, that they're going to be not just at 28 races but all of them throughout the season. I think that shows what race fans they are. It's like an American dream and a dream come true to have this car on the track. I'm proud to drive it.
Q. Have you set specific goals for the rest of this year and next year now that you have sponsorship and the contract sort of settled? What would they be? Improvement in the performance?
DANICA PATRICK: Absolutely. It's to continue to improve. There's not a marker for that necessarily. I mean, the results just have to keep getting better and better.
For instance, there was emphasis after Indianapolis to get better at race starts. That's just what I've done. It's always evolving. You make something else better, something else shows up. But it's a work in progress. I think that for most all of your career as a driver, you continue to get better and learn.
But it's always working in that direction. Sometimes it's moving faster than other times, sometimes moving a little bit slow for what I want. But I think that it is going in the right direction, and that's all I can ask for.
Q. Dave, can you expand a bit on being a race fan. You said you'd been a race fan for 20 years. Talk about what it is that draws you in. How much of that did play into what you're doing?
DAVE MARSON: Well, besides watching it on TV, I've been an athlete growing up, I've been a coach for 17 years. What attracts me to NASCAR is the team effort that it takes.
If you find a driver, you become very loyal to that driver, and you follow them. It's something I did every Sunday morning. I did it with my son, I do it with my grandson now.
It's been a passion. But I think it's driven from my athletics and my athletic involvement on many different levels.
Q. Danica, you finished a career‑best ninth at Bristol this spring. What do you anticipate for this weekend?
DANICA PATRICK: I was fortunate enough to get to test there a month or so ago. I think we made the car better. I hope that we start in a better place than we started last time.
These weekends, as you know, track position is very important. We're going to do everything we can to unload better than we did last time so we can qualify better. We definitely caught some breaks, but we made the car better in the race the last time we were there. That's what got us into the position we were in. That's the motivation for this weekend.
It will be great to have another top 10. I always think if you're on the lead lap at the end of the race, anything can happen when you come down to the last restart.
I'm sure that Bristol will be all that Bristol usually is. I'm sure it will get a little bit rough out there. That's kind of what you have to do to get by cars these days.
We have to put ourselves in a position to have a good enough car to put the car wherever I need to to get by cars and be aggressive. So that's what we're going to work on for this weekend.
But first and foremost, it's going to start with unloading better and qualifying as far up as we can.
Q. Danica, have you had a chance to sample anything and can you give us a review of anything yet?
DANICA PATRICK: I had the gluten free fig bar, fig flavor, before I came down here. That's my pre‑press conference energy. It's delicious. I was able to get some products a little while back after I first met with them. They were all consumed by myself and Ricky.
I'm looking forward to my next shipment of products in the form of not just a box, but the brown cardboard boxes filled with many boxes so I can put them in every spot I own: the car, the purse, the backpack, the house, the bus.
They're very good. You guys will learn that for yourselves as you go grab one and try one. They're delicious.
Q. Tony, we all know the competition for sponsors is every bit as fierce as the competition on track. For Stewart‑Haas as a company, what does having a deal like this in place mean in terms of everybody being able to sleep better at night?
TONY STEWART: Well, first, it's exciting because it's somebody new to the sport. That's always I think a huge victory for our entire sport.
For us here at the shop, we're not worried about paint schemes. We know what we're doing. We've got our drivers in place.
It is exciting because we can sleep at night. Like you said, we all know how competitive it is. It is just as competitive, the sponsorship, as is on‑track performance.
For these guys, it's nice for Sam and them to come in this morning and talk to the guys, meet all these guys, see how excited they are about Nature's Bakery being onboard as well.
I think it lets us focus on the stuff that we love to do each week now, and that's to try to make our racecars go faster.
THE MODERATOR: Danica mentioned it. We do have fig bars for everyone to sample. Please help yourselves. Fuel your body and your mind. Thank you, everyone, for your time. Thank you all for coming here today and for those listening on Press Pass and Sirius Radio.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports