NASCAR launches merchandise superstore at Pocono
LONG POND, Pa. (AP) NASCAR stuck its everything-must-go tag on its merchandise haulers.
The die-cast cars, stickers, T-shirts, and other collectibles for today's stars to yesterday's legends have all been arranged on hangers and shelves under one 60,000-square-foot roof at Pocono Raceway. Gone are the dozens of haulers representing drivers and teams that made race weekend shopping more complicated than needed.
What sizes are left?
Can I try on that jacket?
No more. Fans are now free to roam what the sport billed as a trackside superstore, selling merchandise for 58 drivers and 25 teams. Fans can pick and pluck and sample all they'd like at their own convenience at the store, which had its ribbon cutting Friday.
Martin Truex Jr., who won Pocono in June, said he fielded questions on Twitter all the time from fans wondering where they can buy his hats and shirts at the track.
Now he has an easy answer: A store the size of 1.5 football fields.
The store comes as part of the deal with Fanatics, the nation's largest online sports retailer, that signed a 10-year contract to be the exclusive retailer of NASCAR gear at all races on the Sprint Cup schedule.
''It's not about if this is better or worse,'' Fanatics president Ross Tannenbaum said. ''We have enough data over the years in managing retail to know that to be able to walk in and buy instead of walk up and buy ... is something that's much better for the fans.''
Another is undergoing construction at the site of next week's race at Watkins Glen. Among the perks: 60 centralized check-out stations and 12 online shopping stations.
Team Penske is the only organization not represented. Tannenbaum said Penske drivers will be added next season.
Merchandise is sold for fan favorites like Jimmie Johnson (pajama pants, $29.99) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($1.99 for a bumper sticker) all the way to T-shirts for back-of-field drivers like J.J Yeley, Jeb Burton and Matt DiBenedetto.
Kevin Harvick will sign autographs for fans on Saturday and drivers will make scheduled appearances each race weekend.
''This seems so much easier,'' said David Steckel, a fan from Florida who was attending a Pocono race for the 21st straight year. ''It's just nice we have so many more options.''