Vending machines aren’t the only reason the Fastenal brand is resonating.
In 2002, Fastenal CEO Will Oberton came up with what seemed like an off-the-wall idea while watching a NASCAR truck race. Fastenal is one of Dodge’s biggest clients—buying 3 percent of all its pickup trucks.
Oberton sought a deal with Dodge to put a truck emblazoned with the Fastenal logo in the NASCAR truck series.
“We wanted it to look just like one of our delivery trucks,” Hanley said.
In 2003, Fastenal became the primary sponsor of well-known stock car driver Bobby Hamilton in the NASCAR truck series. Since then, Fastenal has climbed the stock car ladder and is now the primary sponsor for driver Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Fastenal also is a sponsor in the popular Nationwide Series, featuring many of the up-and-coming stock car drivers racing alongside established stars. Motorsports marketing experts said Fastenal spends $15 million on its NASCAR sponsorship annually.
“The move into NASCAR has really resonated,” said Terry Hanley, regional operations manager of Fastenal’s central warehouse in Indianapolis. “A lot of the people we do business with are NASCAR fans and it has greatly increased our brand recognition.”
Now, NASCAR is doing business with Fastenal.
Roush Fenway Racing—which fields cars for Edwards, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.—has three Fastenal vending machines in its North Carolina shops for items including safety glasses, drill bits, and machine and car parts.
“One big advantage is, we’re not paying for these parts until we pull them out of the machine,” said Scott Bowen, Roush Fenway Racing purchasing manager. “These are high-dollar items we’re [distributing] through this machine, so the savings is considerable.”
Bowen added that Fastenal comes through Roush shops weekly to restock the machines “without us ever having to contact them.”
Due to its work with the teams Fastenal has sponsored, word about the company has spread through the NASCAR paddock, and Hanley said Fastenal now counts more than two dozen NASCAR teams as customers.
Fastenal also uses NASCAR—and the Brickyard 400 race in Indianapolis—to ignite its biggest annual vendor and customer trade show. The show is held each summer and Fastenal’s NASCAR partners—including Edwards—have been featured prominently. More than 5,000 Fastenal clients and 180 vendors attended this year’s show, which featured product demonstrations and safety seminars and introduced the vending machine concept to new and current clients, at the Indianapolis facility.•