When driver Jordan Anderson took a phone call from his NASCAR Truck Series team owner on Monday, the news wasn’t good.
Owner Jeff Bolen’s message: “We don’t have enough money to make it up to New Hampshire. Maybe we can start and park it, but there’s no way we can run the race.”
Anderson didn’t want to hear that. He was feeling optimistic after strong finishes in his last several races. So Anderson, a former Belmont Abbey student who dabbles in computer coding, quickly came up with a solution. He would throw open the idea to his fans of raising the $15,000 he needed to make it to Saturday’s UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Staying up all night, Anderson built his own website – www.sponsorjordan.com. Using social media to draw attention to the site, Anderson watched as the donations (or partnerships, as he put it) flowed in.
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“By dinnertime Tuesday, we were halfway there,” Anderson said.
By the weekend, Anderson had enough to make it to New Hampshire. He was set to run his No. 66 “Fueled By Fans” Chevy truck Saturday afternoon.
“The response was unbelievable,” said Anderson, who is in his first season as a full-time Truck series driver. “I had to think outside the box, and it worked.”
By Friday afternoon, Anderson had received commitments ranging from $20 to $1,000 from more than 100 people, including one from Cup driver Landon Cassill.
Anderson then had another out-of-the-box idea: Using a Sharpie, he wrote the name of every contributor on the rear deck of his truck.
He said he planned to keep the website running. In the past, he had asked for sponsorships by making phone calls and going door-to-door.
“I was always setting up meeting, doing cold calls, the old-school way,” said Anderson, 25, who is from the Columbia suburb of Forest Acres, S.C. “I really like the fans’ response and being able to connect with them.”
Since the website went up, Anderson said he has heard from three companies that might be interested in a sponsorship.
“So it’s helping on a larger scale, too,” he said.
But it’s the fan connection that has really been rewarding, Anderson said.
“One lady sent a message and said ‘I want to make sure the rent gets paid and I just bought my groceries. But I wanted to give you $20,’ ” he said.
“If that doesn’t pull on your heartstrings. That means a lot. I’m just a kid trying to make it in this sport, and anytime you get an opportunity in this garage area, it’s a humbling, cool experience.”