6. Make sure the sponsorship package you have created has a lot of value for the sponsor. The days of painting a sponsor's name on the race car and calling it sponsorship are long gone. Unfortunately, many racers, usually those who are without sponsorship or have the nickel-and-dime sponsorships, still have not been able to understand that.

A racer has to offer a package of benefits to attract serious sponsorship support. Some of the opportunities that should be included in a good package for a sponsor are as follows:

* Signage at the track where you race on a regular basis. If you are a traveling racer, make sure you have a sponsor banner that can be displayed. Make sure you have permission before hanging a banner.

* Include sponsorship of a night at the track. If you have more than one sponsor, divide it between all of them and invite all of them to be part of the night. This is also a great business-to-business opportunity for your sponsors.

* Track magazine advertising. You can save some money by including all your sponsors in one well-designed ad.

* Billboard advertising at the track.

* Public address announcements. Inquire about having announcements made about your sponsor. Oftentimes, announcers will do it as long as they have information. Some tracks may charge a fee.

* Exposure on the team Web site. No Web site? Get one. It's a great marketing tool. A good Web site is great for sponsors, the media, and merchandising opportunities (T-shirts, hats, and so on). Make sure it is kept current.

* Media relations. Make sure the media is receiving news on the race team.

* Be sure the announcer at events where you are racing has information on you and the sponsors.

* If there is a track magazine, see how you can get a story about you, the team, and the sponsors printed. Usually, all it takes is someone writing the story and providing photos. Many track magazine publishers are looking for material.

* Suggest a contest that would involve your sponsors providing the prizes.

These are just a few suggestions; the list goes on. The more financial support a racer seeks, the more perks that must be included.

Bobby Gunther Walsh, a NASCAR Modified racer at Pennsylvania's Grandview Speedway, has had a sponsor on his race car who is a politician. When politicians are running for office, they are always looking for maximum exposure in an effort to secure votes. We have even seen candidates for national offices place sponsorship on race cars. Racers should be in touch with politicians when they are seeking sponsorship. Here's a quick tip: We suggest getting the money up front just in case your sponsor loses in the election.

7. This one really irritates us. It's amazing how few racers see the value of having the sponsor names and/or logos on the hauler. Keep in mind that more people are going to see that hauler traveling to and from the races than will see the race car when it is performing. However, don't give it away.

Offer the opportunity to have the name/logo on the hauler. Explain the significance and charge the sponsors accordingly. In many states, racers have to pay extra for insurance because the hauler, with logos, becomes a commercial vehicle-that means higher insurance rates. Make the sponsor pay for this great exposure.

8. This is very important. We see proposals that promise the moon and have little chance of fulfilling that promise. Do not promise something to a sponsor that you cannot personally guarantee. We have heard of race teams that promise Victory Lane, championships, and media exposure in major dailies or on TV. It's much safer to just say that you will be giving it your best effort-just make sure you do.

9. We wish we had a dollar for each time we have heard from a racer who feels he has been taken advantage of by a sponsor. The monthly sponsor payment has not been received, and the sponsor is not returning calls. Guess what? There's nothing in writing, no contract. That's bad business. No matter how big or small the sponsorship deal, there should be a binding contract/agreement outlining what the sponsor gets in return for the monies being paid. And if you live up to all that you promise, you should be getting paid.

If not, you will have more ammunition for your lawyer to use when he contacts the sponsor seeking payment of the sponsorship fees and all legal costs.

10. Many racers fail to research potential sponsors. Check the Internet. See what you can find with the Chamber of Commerce. Find out as much as you can so that you know if the sponsor will fit. It will be important information for your proposal.