You can be a part of a NASCAR sponsorship! Right now!

Jay Busbee
From the Marbles

[Editor's note: Loyal reader Nathan Bitner has come up with an innovative idea: sponsoring a NASCAR Nationwide Series car on behalf of Yahoo! Sports' From The Marbles. Frankly, we love it, and we think you will too. Nathan's looking for help from you, The Marbleheads, so chip in! -JB]

We've joked for months now (years?) about the Marbleheads sponsoring a ride in a top NASCAR series. Well, today, it's one step closer to reality.

No, we can't quite afford to oust Lowe's from the hood  as the primary sponsor of ol' 5-time Jimmie Johnson. But hey, this is a grassroots campaign, and it's a start.

A 4" by 6" sponsorship was made available on the lower quarter panel of Kevin Lepage's Bristol Nationwide car and I think it's time we (The People) came together and put our name out there! The race is the evening of August 26th, 2011 and using ChipIn, I'm looking for the financial assistance to pull this off for us (total cost: $400).

For starters, I am no artist and we need a cool logo, small or not! Whether you donate $1 or $100, (even if you can't attend the race for whatever reason), I can promise pictures (up close) so we can trumpet our arrival on the NASCAR sponsorship scene.

When Austin Dillon slides into the Sprint Cup logo for the first time (for his sake, let's hope it's legs first) and thanks the Marbleheads Chevy in Victory Lane, you can say you were there when it all began.

Though difficult to initiate and maintain, there is a unique excitement in the prospect of fans participating in the concept of "micro sponsorship", something relatively new in the struggling NASCAR (and U.S.) economy. Sponsors such as RDS are selling hoods for just $10,000, quarters for $5,500, lower quarterpanels for less than half that. Get enough people together (Kenny Wallace would like your number, by the way) and fan sponsorship might become a regular occurrence, rather than a novelty.

While Cup drivers continue to dominate the Nationwide Series, winning all but three races in 2011, young and diverse driving talents are often overlooked for one simple reason: lack of funding. This is one avenue that teams have been forced to take in order simply to survive and maintain so that, with a little (or a lot) of good luck, they can make maybe one or two attempts at a full race instead of the dreaded "start and park."

In NASCAR, fans are already closer to the athletes (yes, Golden Tate, athletes) and teams than any other major American sport. The potential for the relationship to grow and expand to unprecedented levels exists through such initiatives.

As the economy continues to deal with its own restrictor plates and sponsors potentially fall by the wayside, it won't surprise me to see more fans and groups pick up the slack — one dollar at a time.

Great story, great effort. Help Nathan with his cause by visiting ChipIn and donating whatever you can, $1 or $400, to get The Marbles on the panel!

What to Read Next