Local sponsor craves a spot in victory lane this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway

Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 9:22pm

This weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series races at the Nashville Superspeedway is more than personal for Elliott Sadler.

It’s business. Sadler drives for Kevin Harvick Inc., and one of the team’s many sponsors is Nashville-based Hunt Brothers Pizza.

While it would be nice for Sadler to pick up a win for the hometown sponsor, it would also benefit his family — financially.

Back in his home state of Virginia, his parents own several convenience stores that sell Hunt Brothers, which claims it serves the country’s largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry.

So a checkered flag for Sadler means cha-ching, cha-ching for the family business.

“He knows that if he wins, it is going to help his family’s business at the same time, because more people are going to buy pizza at his store too,” Hunt Brothers vice president of marketing Keith Solsvig said.

Sadler will race twice this weekend. He’ll open with in the Craftsman Truck Series event, the Lucas Deep Clean 200 (7 p.m., Friday, Speed Network). He’ll return the next night for the Federated Auto Parts 300 (6:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN).

Another Nashville-based business, Dollar General, sponsors Kyle Busch in the Camping World Truck Series. Dollar General and Busch took advantage of the “home track” in Nashville in April as Busch won the Bully Hill Vineyards 200.

For Sadler, it his first year racing for KHI. Sadler was also sponsored by Hunt Brothers last year when he drove in the Sprint Cup Series for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Sadler will be racing at Nashville Superspeedway for the first time since April, when he finished 13th in a Nationwide Series event. It was a disappointing result for Sadler but hasn’t slowed him down. He currently leads the series standings.

While it is a big race for Sadler, it is also a big event for Hunt Brothers. The company has been a NASCAR sponsor for the last four years and Solsvig describes it as “a great fit.”

“We feel it fits our consumer demographic,” he said. “Most of our stores are in smaller towns in the South. ... We wanted to find a way to promote our brand in a national way. We got our biggest bang for our buck. We have found that NASCAR has done all that for us.”

This weekend, Sadler can do a lot for Hunt Brothers, too. Solsvig said they have found the better the racing results, the more pizzas sold.

As if Sadler needed more motivation.

“We being associated with that winning [Kevin Harvick Inc.] team, we have seen our sales increase,” Solsvig said. “There is always pressure. I think Elliott really needs to win a race to put an exclamation point on the fact that he is the points leader and he is going to win overall the Nationwide Series and the champion. I think it is a great thing.”