NASCAR has gained a powerful new partnership. Microsoft, a global leader in technology and innovation, has come to terms on new, multi-year agreements to become an Official Technology Partner of NASCAR. They’ll also become a major technology partner of 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports.
As part of the agreements, both NASCAR and HMS will adopt the Windows 10 platform and Microsoft Azure, technology designed to help improve performance on and off-track. Microsoft will also support the upcoming launch of Windows 10 with primary sponsorship of 12-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet SS. They’ll back him in two events: Sonoma Raceway on June 28 and Pocono Raceway on Aug. 2. Windows 10, going forward will serve as the Official Operating System of HMS.
“NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports are perpetual innovators in motorsports,” said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President, Developer Experience and Evangelism at Microsoft in a release. “This sport demands constant innovation, to have its boundaries pushed, so that the sport delivers the exciting experiences expected by fans. The Windows mobile inspection application we launched last year is a great example of how innovative solutions can push boundaries and make the racing experience even better. We’re looking forward to the next solutions that we can deploy with both NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports to push each of our organizations forward.”
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) June 22, 2015
The agreement comes from a decision from Microsoft to increase involvement within the sport. NASCAR and Microsoft first collaborated in 2014, creating the Windows mobile inspection application to make car inspections and communication among NASCAR officials in the garage more efficient.
“Partnering with a global leader like Microsoft heightens our commitment to drive innovation and adopt state-of-the-art technologies across our sport,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer in a release. “Microsoft has a proven track record as a technology solution provider and the development of the Windows mobile inspection app has reinvented our inspection process. As we look to the future, we’re excited at the prospect of developing new applications and leveraging Windows 10 and Microsoft Azure services that will make our sport more competitive, exciting, and accessible to fans.”
Earnhardt Jr., a two-time Daytona 500 champion, will be used by Microsoft to promote Windows 10, which will be available July 29 as a free upgrade for qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. In addition, Microsoft’s new multi-year partnership with HMS will incorporate technology solutions and training across the team, including competition, business and IT functions.
“I’m a big technology user and really enjoy Microsoft products,” said Earnhardt in a release. “Kicking off the Hendrick Motorsports relationship with Windows 10 is a unique opportunity; there’s no doubt our ongoing technical partnership will help us raise the bar in many areas. It’s great to see Microsoft is having such a positive experience with NASCAR and wants to do more across the sport. We’re excited to be a part of that.”
The announcement comes in advance of the June 25 NASCAR Fuel For Business (NFFB) Council meeting in San Francisco, which Microsoft will participate in as a parenting sponsor. These quarterly meetings are held as forums for Official NASCAR Partners to meet and conduct business. The get-togethers have facilitated more than 1,000 “speed meeting” sessions among Official NASCAR Partners since 2004, fostering hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue and savings to participating members.
With the addition of Microsoft, one-in-four FORTUNE 500 companies are now invested in NASCAR, with a 50% year-over-year increase in technology companies entering the sport from 2013 to 2014.