What Do a NASCAR Driver and Access Trax Have in Common?
You might be wondering how a social impact startup got its logo placed on the car of a 3-time NASCAR Daytona 500 winner. This is a completely valid question, given that NASCAR sponsorships are very expensive, making logo placement a great opportunity. The answer of how Access Trax got its logo placed on the #11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin may surprise you. But first, let’s share some background info.
FedEx Sponsors Joe Gibbs Racing that competes in the NASCAR series with the #11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin
Twenty twenty-one marks over 15 years that FedEx has sponsored Joe Gibbs Racing with Denny Hamlin as the driver. Denny has a very impressive track record over the years, most notably winning the iconic Daytona 500 race 3 times. The #11 was close to winning the Daytona 500 in 2021 as well, with Denny leading the race for 98 out of 200 laps. Overall, he has 44 NASCAR Cup wins under his belt with the goal of more to come. The number 11 team is a great team with a great attitude, and an obvious competitive drive to win.
Driver Denny Hamlin has 44 NASCAR Cup wins under his belt, including 3 Daytona 500 firsts since 2016. FedEx has been the primary sponsor of the #11 since 2006.
The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
Now that we’ve introduced how FedEx and the #11 are connected, here’s a background of how Access Trax and FedEx are connected. Each year since 2013, FedEx has conducted the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. This contest focuses on helping small businesses grow and scale with both cash prizes and FedEx Office credits. Twenty twenty-one marks the 9th annual contest, with 12 grant winners to be announced in May. First place is a whopping $50,000 plus $7,500 in FedEx Office credits. Second and third place get $30,000 and $15,000 in cash respectively in addition to FedEx Office credits. One of the unique things about the FedEx Grant is that 10 small businesses are awarded third place, increasing the impact. Applications are open until March 9th, and eligible U.S. based small businesses can apply here, where there is more information about the contest.
You might recall that in 2020, Access Trax won the Grand Prize in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. This was an incredible feat since over 4,000 businesses applied. Access Trax is a social impact company based in San Diego with a mission to make the outdoors and recreation more accessible for all. Kelly Twichel of Access Trax recalls how FedEx surprised her with the news about winning in May of 2020.
“My local FedEx rep set up a video conference meeting to supposedly share details about a pilot program. That’s when the team broke the news that I had actually won the Grand Prize. I was so thankful and shocked that I had happy tears flowing down my cheeks. That year was especially difficult for small businesses so it was extra special to win.”
“Winning the FedEx Small Business Grant meant my company could continue to grow and serve our customers who need better access to the outdoors.” -Kelly, CEO Access Trax
Check out all the 2020 FedEx Small Business Grant Winners here.
Access Trax and the #11 FedEx Toyota
Being a FedEx Small Business Grant winner can come with some surprising perks beyond the stated prizes. Shortly after Access Trax won the grant in 2020, FedEx shared the announcement right on their home page. For months, anyone going to FedEx.com to track or ship a package would see a photo of Kelly unfolding the Access Trax over sand at the beach. This brought in much-needed brand awareness and even some exciting new customer markets.
Being on the FedEx home page is how San Diego Gas & Electric found Access Trax. Since then, the utility company has been using the Trax at job sites to prevent their forklifts from getting stuck in loose gravel and sand.
Another surprising perk has been the opportunity for Kelly and Access Trax to help spread the word about the contest. Since FedEx sponsors a team in a sport that has millions of viewers, they decided to leverage that opportunity to highlight even more small business owners. FedEx worked behind the scenes to develop the #11 paint scheme and has placed the Access Trax logo on the rear of the car along with the grant contest URL and a sign that says, “We’re Open”, to represent small business resiliency during tough times. It’s a way of generating excitement and hope for small business owners, encouraging them to apply for the grant, too. This small business paint scheme will be used on the #11 raced on February 28th at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Access Trax’s CEO Kelly is looking forward to cheering on Denny Hamlin and the #11!
More About Access Trax
Inspired by adaptive surfers, Access Trax empowers people with physical disabilities to access outdoor terrain using our modular folding pathway. Outdoor terrain like sand, grass or snow is a barrier to the millions of people around the world with mobility challenges. The Trax pathway was invented by 2 occupational therapists in order to make the outdoors more accessible. It is the most user-friendly and cost-effective solution for sale and rent. We are proud to serve families, adaptive sports organizations, the National Park Service, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The durable pathways are also being used by the film and construction industries for a stable surface over sand, dirt and gravel! Access Trax is committed to advocacy and community service including beach cleanups, inclusion advocacy, and inspiring future entrepreneurs. Access Trax provides “Access for Life.”