A 5″ x 5″ decal on Dale Earnhardt Sr’s car – Morris: “That was about half of our marketing budget”
Johnny Morris is the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. It’s a company that started in 1972 by selling fishing tackle out of the back of his father’s Ozark, Missouri store.
Bass Pro Shops has been a supporter of NASCAR for a long time. This year, he was a sponsor of Furniture Row Racing, the MENCS championship winning team.
Morris took the stage at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series awards show on Thursday night. He was there to congratulate his driver on the record setting season.
Why Martin Truex Jr?
“Well, I never heard of Martin Truex to be honest, Johnny Morris stated at the Awards stage. “But, Dale Jr recommended him and that said a little bit.”
“Getting to know Martin along the way, there’s somethin’ about it. He always was an amazing driver, still is and he gets better every day.”
“But, it’s been a great joy to watch Martin, as a friend. I mean, one thing he told me. He said, “John I’d love to hunt ‘n fish. And if I get my gear cheap then I’ll drive for cheap.’ ”
Martin Truex Jr is an avid hunter. He’s known to shoot bows during the racing season and after. Truex heard that statement and busted into laughter.
“Anyway, I know this. I’m getting old in life so things that are really meaningful in life, they aren’t given to ya. They don’t come easy. What means the most, are things that you work for. Just Martin… You, Sherry, Cole, Joe, Barney back at home, the team. You guys earned this.”
How important is the relationship to NASCAR for you?
“I think it’s important. Not just for our company but for the outdoor industry. For people to get outside and enjoy hunting and fishing, is a good thing for America.”
“I just want to think my friend Richard Childress. Because, years ago, him and Dale, I got to meet them at a race. Next thing you know, we got a little emblem on the #3 car.”
That was the first step into NASCAR for Bass Pro Shop’s. It was a tiny 5″ by 5″ decal on the car driven by Dale Earnhardt Sr. “That was about half of our whole company marketing budget, that year,” Morris explains.
In the years following, Bass Pro Shops greatly increased their marketing budget within NASCAR. They eventually became the primary sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Sr in a handful of select races.
Kids today, they need to get away from stuff and get outside and enjoy life
“Then to be aligned with Tony [Stewart] and Jamie [McMurray] and other great folks in our sport that are sportsman. It not only builds our brand but I think it gets people interested. Kids today, they need to get away from stuff and get outside and enjoy life.”
In 2018, Bass Pro Shops and 5 Hour Energy will both share the primary sponsorship role of the defending champion.
Related: 2018 Martin Truex Jr Paint Scheme