Wink Hartman is promoting Wichita in the fast lane.
Hartman’s No. 67 IndyCar Honda will be branded with Wichita on Saturday and Sunday at the Iowa Indy Corn 250. Josef Newgarden drives the car for Sarah Fisher Hartman racing, owned by Hartman. He is donating the advertising spots on the side panels — valued at around $500,000 — to GoWichita, the city’s convention and visitors bureau.
Other spots on the car are being sold to local companies and institutions, including Wichita State University.
“All of them wanted to support Wichita and get national exposure for our city,” Hartman said. “You never know when it might jog somebody’s memory to make it a positive. Somebody might just Google Wichita.”
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The race, at Iowa Speedway in Newton, 30 miles from Des Moines, will be televised on ABC on Sunday.
“We wanted to get more recognition for Wichita, Kan.,” Hartman said. “If we can get one person to move 25 jobs to Wichita, we’ve won.”
Hartman said Morrie Sheets, director of operations and vice president for real estate for Hartman Oil, suggested the idea. Cities sponsoring racing cars was common in the 1950s and 1960s, Hartman said.