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Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello are back! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nickelodeon return to Chicagoland Speedway this September as entitlement sponsor for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff opener. This marks Nickelodeon's second consecutive year wearing the sponsor hat at the Illinois track.
The pair made the Nickelodeon Tales of the Turtles 400 announcement Friday, coming off a wildly successful 2016 partnership and campaign. The news coincided nicely with National Superhero Day.
"We're thrilled that Nickelodeon is coming back with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise as the entitlement partner of our playoff kickoff on Sunday, Sept. 17," Chicagoland track president Scott Paddock told NASCAR.com.
Nickelodeon also joined NASCAR in 2015's SpongeBob SquarePants 400, which saw Jimmie Johnson collect his third win at Kansas Speedway.
Last year's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 -- which Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr. won -- sparked cross-generational pizazz thanks to Nickelodeon's revamp and ownership of the franchise.
"Brands like Nickelodeon attract a younger audience," Paddock furthered. "We saw impact last year with about a 12 percent increase on kids that came to the race. And what's really fascinating about the 'Turtles' franchise is it's got cross-generational appeal so it was hot back in the '90s and (now) you've got this whole generation that grew up with it and now their kids are following Nickelodeon."
It appears that this is a two-way relationship built on a foundation of deep admiration and appreciation.
"This is Year 2 of our partnership with Chicagoland. We're thrilled to be coming back," Anthony Di Cosmo, senior vice president of sports marketing and content development for Nickelodeon, told NASCAR.com. "I think when we carried out this partnership it was really to kind of build a platform of something long term that we can really engage kids and family in the sport in a way that felt very authentic to Nickelodeon."
Building off 2016's successful weekend, Nickelodeon plans to have its characters prominently displayed at the speedway as well as driver and team involvement with special paint schemes paying tribute to the network's cartoon.
Last year, Monster Energy Series drivers such as Danica Patrick, Michael McDowell and David Ragan rocked Turtle-related schemes for the 400-miler.
Although it is, as of yet, uncertain who will partake in the themed paint jobs this year, some of the characters -- as well as Nickelodeon stars -- are scheduled to be prominent during the September weekend with many activities for the entire family.