Racing is expensive. Look at the top cars in any national series and you’ll see Fortune 500 companies on the hood. You’ll see cars owned by multimillionaires and even billionaires.
As costs have risen, so have the prices of sponsorship. Putting your company’s logo on a racecar is unfathomable for the average small business owner. Josh Tew is not a millionaire business tycoon. Nor is he your average small business owner.
Tew, a 36-year-old from Dunn, N.C., is a high school music teacher. In his spare time, Tew raises chickens and follows NASCAR and the ARCA Menards Series. Over the last 25 years, Tew’s little egg farm has sponsored racecars in the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series and ARCA.
How little can this egg farm truly be?
“It varies. I have under 100 chickens.” Tew told Frontstretch. “It’s just a hobby.”
So how does a young man who teaches music by day and cares for nearly 100 chickens by night manage to sponsor racecars? Perhaps a better question is, “Why?”
“I love the underdogs,” Tew said. “They are working hard every week just to get to the track.”
Tew’s love affair with NASCAR and its underdogs can be traced back to Chad Little in the 1990s.
“I grew up in the country,” he stated. “Everybody had, and still has, a John Deere tractor. We were watching TV one day and the Chad Little John Deere car was on. I immediately became a NASCAR fan because I wanted to pull for the John Deere car.”
So many of us can relate to a simple and similar origin story of our fandom. But how did Tew go from watching the John Deere car to becoming a NASCAR sponsor?
“It all goes back to Carl Long,” Tew explained. “I was in high school. I just wanted to help. He said send me a little cash and I’ll put [the logo] on the car. That’s how this whole thing started.”
Long is one of NASCAR’s most well-known underdogs. He’s been a driver and owner for about as long as Tew has been involved. And it’s no coincidence Tew’s first foray into NASCAR sponsorship came at the ripe old age of 13 when Josh’s Eggs made its debut appearance, on Long’s Mansion Motorsports Ford.
“The story was fascinating, he (Long) did everything for Mansion Motorsports,” Tew continued. “He built the car, drove the hauler, drove the car. It’s different than these mega teams. There’s something about it that’s relatable.”
Long’s recollection of the deal?
“I don’t know how many chickens Josh is up to right now, but when he showed up, that 13-year-old kid wasn’t much bigger than them chickens.” Long said, “If you wanted the whole car I think the price back then was 25. And so, he said ‘Well I can do it. It isn’t a problem. I been sellin’ eggs. I got six chickens layin’ ’em right now. I think I can make the 25.'”
Baffled and overcome with laughter, Long responded, “Dude, I’m talking about thousands!”
Despite the slight misunderstanding on pricing, Long and his team owner, Thee Dixon, worked out a deal for Josh’s Eggs to pay a more budget-friendly fee in exchange for a decal between the number and the tire.
As Tew sees it, the lower price to get his logo on the underdog cars provides even better value in knowing that his small budget makes a real difference. In recent years Tew has sponsored Alex Clubb, an owner/driver in ARCA.
“Josh is an awesome guy… Every dollar counts as a low-budget team so the help from him and everyone is a great help getting us to the track,” Clubb said. “It’s nice that some people like to help the little guy.”
Over the years, lots of little guys have benefitted from Tew’s sponsorship. Long is one of the bigger names Tew has sponsored. Others include underdog throwbacks like Dick Trickle, Butch Jarvis, Jay Robinson and Robbie Faggart. This year, Josh’s Eggs will sponsor 64-year-old owner/driver Dale Shearer in ARCA and the ARCA Menards Series East. Shearer is gearing up for the Daytona ARCA 200, where he will attempt to qualify for the race among a crowded entry list containing 47 cars. Only 40 will make the race.
“It just means someone recognizes and wants to help,” Shearer said. “If you want to write a check and stand in victory circle, go sponsor one of Venturini Motorsports’ cars. I’ve never ever had a full season sponsor. Anything helps. By getting him on the car, it may attract other sponsors. I appreciate it because I am a small team and it does help cover some costs.”
It’s less frequent today, but in prior generations, drivers often had to put their time in with underfunded teams before getting a chance to drive for teams closer to the front of the field. Tew sees underdogs playing an important role in motorsports, and gives a recent example most can recognize.
“Everyone has to start somewhere,” Tew added. “I would have considered Ross Chastain an underdog for all those years… but not now. That’s an important step in the process of racing. Supporting racing, even in a small way, is very valuable to me.”
You might expect some kind of tax-related expense angle, or some hope to gain more egg sales through the promotion. If any of that exists, it’s a field-filler for Tew. His motivation is simple: a love for racing.
“No matter what changes they’ve made, I’m still hooked on it.”
Josh’s Eggs has a tiny footprint in the wide world of stock car racing. But in some ways, it’s a perfect fit. It reminds us of the sport’s beginnings. It provides a bridge between the sometimes presumably out-of-touch national series and your local short track where your high school classmate Jimmy pulls together whatever dollars he can find from his friends and family just to make it to the track and turn laps. Living the dream.
Your high school classmate Jimmy is racing. Josh’s Eggs is racing. No matter how big the shops get for the mega teams, no matter how much money they spend, there is still a place for people like Tew, Long, Clubb and Shearer in the sport.
“Those guys have a lot of heart for racing and gosh, that’s everything to me,” Tew said.
About the author
Steve Leffew joined Frontstretch in 2023, and covers the Xfinity Series. He resides in Wisconsin and has been a NASCAR fan as long as he can remember. He has served honorably in the United States Air Force and works during the week as a Real Estate Lender.
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