O'Reilly Auto Parts wants to kill ORP racetrack moniker

August 24, 2010
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What’s in a name?

Quite a bit as it turns out. Just ask O’Reilly Auto Parts. Officials for that firm are now insisting that O’Reilly Raceway Park be called just that.

No ORP. And certainly no IRP, the initials for the old moniker, Indianapolis Raceway Park.

When a company signs a multi-year, multi-million dollar naming rights deal, company officials want to get their money’s worth.

Most have learned that a venue that goes by nicknames and initials doesn’t give their brand the pop it would otherwise.

In 2008, Lucas Oil owner Forrest Lucas made a big fuss about not calling Lucas Oil Stadium “The Luke” or “LOS.” I thought the request was reasonable, even though some Indianapolis Colts fans thought it was ridiculous.

Either way, the Colts, with Lucas’ money in hand ($121.5 million over 20 years), were only too happy to comply. A groundswell was bubbling for the name “The Luke,” but the Colts marketing and communications posse did a nice job of killing that movement, and despite a few national television bobbles in the venue’s first season, Lucas Oil Stadium has stood the test. And when last we spoke, Forrest Lucas said he was pleased.

The Indiana Pacers never did let Conseco Fieldhouse get a nickname. Though, I’m not sure “CF” or “The Con” has much of a ring to it. I don’t know, though, maybe “The House” would have worked. Since Conseco changed its name to CNO Financial Group this year, it’s not clear what the venue will be called in the future.

But the trick may be more difficult for O’Reilly Raceway Park officials than it was for Colts and city officials with respect to Lucas Oil Stadium or the Pacers with Conseco Fieldhouse.

The IRP brand goes back to the facility’s opening in 1960. In 2006, when O’Reilly signed its multi-year, multi-million dollar deal, officials at the track on Indianapolis’ west side encouraged the ORP nickname. It seems it was enough for people not to call it IRP. Finally, after several years, references to ORP seemed to be outnumbering IRP both in the media and informal conversation.

“We might have made some mistakes,” said O’Reilly Raceway Park spokesman Scott Smith. “But now we’re getting away from ORP and want to be referred to as O’Reilly Raceway Park in all references.”

People don’t like change, so I expect some resistance to the switch. For people who enjoy sports, and understand how they’re funded, they should be eager to comply.

So with that I say, RIP ORP. Or, I suppose I should say rest in peace. Long live O’Reilly Raceway Park.

  • Why not?
    I think of O'Reilly every time I hear ORP. But like every industry the sponsors should get the best bang for their buck. I've often wondered why NASCAR announcers don't refer to a car by the main sponsor's name. Instead of the 24 car say, Gordon's Dupont Chevy. It would greatly increase exposure and cost nothing.
  • Raceway Park
    ORP, IRP, O'Reilly, whatever . . . it's still "Raceway Park" to me, although some get that confused with the former raceway located in Blue Island, Illinois.

    MIKE - Some NASCAR announcers, especially the radio guys, make more use of sponsors names than numbers and even driver's names. "The Dupont Chevy is trying to get by the Budweiser Ford while Jeff is trying to hold off Kyle Busch in the Interstate Batteries Camry." Those radio guys must get paid by the mention, especially on pit stops. "Here is Kurt Busch in the Miller Dodge slowing for four fresh Goodyear Eagles and a splash of Sunoco Race Fuel." Heck, maybe they should pay me. I charge by the mention, too. LOL.
    Good luck to the o"reilly officials!I"m sure nhra will gladly take their money!!!!I have lived by the track all of my life and will always refer to it as "IRP",and so will 99% of local racers ,OR maybe we can ask RCA about the DOME as everybody calls that place , OR allstate about the BRICKYARD as everybody refers to there!I dont even think people realize there are o"reilly parts stores around here,or who lucas is? they're not common INDY folklores!just rich people trying to smooge the city for tax breaks or more money
  • sue me
    It has and always will be Indianapolis Raceway Park to me. O'reilly makes me think of some dust bowl in Short Shift Idaho. Raceway Park says Indianapolis to me.
  • Does the name change the place?
    I don't get why the request from O'Reilly is a big deal. They are simply requesting from the people they pay to call it what they paid for. If you want to call it IRP or whatever, then you have the right to do so. The first amendment allows you to call it whatever you like. Indiana used to be a part of what was called the Northwest Territory, but now it is Indiana, I'm not upset that is now Indiana.

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