7-Eleven first sponsored Kanaan more than a decade ago.
7-Eleven Inc. is teaming with Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) to sponsor popular Verizon IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan 14 years after first backing him at the start of his record-breaking career.
7-Eleven will be an associate sponsor for Kanaan’s No. 10 Indy car in four races in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series – St. Petersburg (March 12), Long Beach (April 9), Indianapolis 500 (May 28) and Texas Motor Speedway (June 10). The 7-Eleven logo will appear on Kanaan’s racing suit throughout the season.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be back in the 7-Eleven family,” said Kanaan. “7-Eleven was my home for most of my career in INDYCAR and they were with me for 14 out of my 17 wins. It’s definitely special to have them with me to celebrate my 20th INDYCAR season and I’m looking forward to getting them to victory circle again like we did many times in the past.”
The driving force of this collaboration was the strong relationship between the retailer and the racecar driver. 7-Eleven was Kanaan’s primary sponsor in 2003, his first full year as an INDYCAR driver, and continued through the 2010 season. Kanaan won the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship and would eventually earn the “Iron Man” title of racing. He is also the only INDYCAR driver to complete every lap of every race during a season, all 3,305 of them, and holds the record for most consecutive starts with 265.
The partnership provides an opportunity to use the enthusiasm around auto racing to connect with customers and fans in a meaningful way. Kanaan is as popular off the track as he is a winning driver while on it. In 2014, he won “Most Popular Driver,” an honor voted by racing fans and one 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto recognized long ago.
“Tony has proven himself to be an enthusiastic brand ambassador, both for the sport of racing and for 7-Eleven,” DePinto said. “Whenever he and the show car made a store appearance, crowds of customers would turn out to meet him. Tony would stay and sign photographs and talk to 7-Eleven customers for hours. He is a winner in everything he does.”
Kanaan’s first appearance for 7-Eleven this go-round will be at the 7-Eleven Experience in Las Vegas, an annual conference for the company’s franchisees. A show car with the 7-Eleven logo will be featured at the event being held Feb. 1-2.
“We’re really excited to have 7-Eleven joining the team for the 2017 season and it’s great to see them back in the sport. They have such a strong history with Tony and we’re just glad that we can be a part of bringing that relationship back into racing,” said CGR President Steve Lauletta. “It’s a huge milestone for Tony to be celebrating his 20th season in INDYCAR and I think 7-Eleven is a perfect partner to come on board and be a part of the celebration.”
A few things have changed since 7-Eleven first sponsored Kanaan more than a decade ago. For one thing, the popular driver stays in touch with his fans on social media with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And instead of being the new kid on the block, Kanaan is now a veteran driver on the Verizon IndyCar Series circuit. Many of his fans now have families, and their children follow him as well.
“The 7-Eleven car was a staple in the Verizon IndyCar Series for years and most of my fans still come to me and talk about how great of a run we had together,” said Kanaan. “It’s natural for me to be excited that we are reuniting forces now at Chip Ganassi Racing.”
Kanaan’s favorite 7-Eleven products? Coffee, great for long drives, sports drinks and better-for-you items like protein bars and fresh fruit.