When Clint Bowyer takes to the track at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday for the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, his No. 15 car will not only feature the familiar logos of his official sponsors, but also the name of Ian Wilson, Bowyer’s number one fan. With an expression of fandom that exceeded all other entries, 10-year-old Wilson has won the first week of NASCAR and ESPN’s #Fandorsement program, a social photo contest that gives fans the chance to “sponsor” their favorite Chase driver.
Wilson hails from Cottonwood Falls, Kan., which is not far from Bowyer’s hometown of Emporia, Kan. He can often be found sporting the custom-made Bowyer jersey his dad made, which bears a striking resemblance to the original. Wilson, who has cerebral palsy, also proudly displays the No. 15 through the spokes of his wheelchair. Bowyer himself tweeted in support of Wilson, whom he met a few years ago at a race in Kansas City. Wilson’s photo and decal will be revealed on live TV during NASCAR Countdown on Sunday, immediately prior to the race.
"As a parent of this special little guy, I am overwhelmed with emotion with this opportunity Ian has received,” said Dow Wilson, Ian’s Dad. "By Ian getting the chance to have his name on Clint Bowyer's car, it has expanded his world a little more which is so limited to begin with -- this is priceless!"
Wilson added, "I asked Ian this morning what he thought about having his name on Clint's car, and with the biggest grin ever he replied, 'Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, let's go racing!'"
According to Bowyer, "It's great that Ian is the first Fandorsement. I'll be proud to carry his name on my car Sunday. NASCAR fans are the most passionate in sports and Ian and his family are shining examples of that."
Wilson and his family, also racing fans, will be watching the race intently on Sunday from their home in Cottonwood Falls.
The #Fandorsements program allows fans to "sponsor" their favorite Chase driver by submitting an original picture of their drivers’ number through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #Fandorsements. Each week during the Chase, a new winner will be selected and will have his/her social media handle appear above their favorite Chase driver’s passenger window in that week’s race. For more information, visit www.nascar.com/fandorsements.
The program is part of a larger joint marketing campaign between ESPN and NASCAR to elevate the 10th Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on ESPN. The multi-platform initiative debuted on ESPN on Sept. 2 with a series of brand spots. The first one, “Generations,” is a 30-second ad that features five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and the likenesses of some of NASCAR’s greatest legends, including three-time champion Cale Yarborough, “The King” Richard Petty and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. The campaign highlights the elevated stakes and significance of the Chase and the opportunity drivers have to build a legacy through the 10-race postseason.
Nine of the 10 races in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will air on ESPN and WatchESPN, with the Saturday night, Oct. 12, race at Charlotte Motor Speedway airing on ABC.