Ricky Carmichael may have traded in four wheels for two years ago, but his love of NASCAR remains.
As a Monster Energy athlete and spokesperson, Carmichael attended the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend. In its first season as the entitlement sponsor of the series, Monster Energy also had the naming rights to the All-Star Race. It was the first of several appearances for Carmichael this year.
“I’m a racer, and I have so many friends here, and I respect so much what these guys do,” Carmichael said. “It’s fun for me to come.”
There’s no pressure being back in the garage, either. Admittedly, going from Motocross and Supercross to NASCAR was tough.
Carmichael made 76 starts between the Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series from 2009 to 2011. He earned a combined 19 top-10 finishes and a Truck Series pole in 2011 at Atlanta.
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“You’re stepping in, racing guys who have been doing this forever, so it’s really hard,” Carmichael said of the experience. “But I was able to do hold my own. I was able to do some special things, and now that I’m back in the two-wheel side of things, I enjoy it. I like my role and what I’m doing now.”
In Charlotte, Carmichael not only took the sport in as a guest but saw what Monster Energy is doing as the entitlement sponsor. Carmichael specifically spoke to the demographic of fans the company can bring as well as its marketing and activation.
“How they promote their brand and the shows they put on, it’s a lot of fun and it brings something special to the fans who come to the races,” Carmichael said. “They have something to watch before the race cars get on the racetrack … They just have that flair to them I think NASCAR needed.”
Monster Energy backed Carmichael’s Motocross and Supercross career, where he won a combined 12 championships, but also followed him to NASCAR. Affiliated with them since the early 2000s, Carmichael is intimately familiar with Monster Energy.
“The fun events like this I get to do, and I get to do some stuff in Europe for them as well, go to some MotoGP races, which is also a good time,” Carmichael said of being an ambassador. “Just what Monster brings as a sponsor to any event they are a part of is fun. They have that ‘it’ factor if you will … I think (NASCAR) needed this kind of boost and I’m happy to see it.”
As for which one of his friends he roots for, Carmichael knows his answer is political.
“Obviously, I want to see my friends do well, but I just want to see a good race,” Carmichael said. “That’s what’s special for the fans and TV, and the races I don’t come to, and I’m watching on TV I want to see an exciting race. It doesn’t matter to me as long as it’s a good race and that’s what’s cool about the segment races this year. It’s brought a lot to the table.”