IRVING, Texas, Jan. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- 7-Eleven, Inc. will join with Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) to sponsor popular Verizon IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan 14 years after first backing him at the start of his record-breaking career. 7-Eleven will be an associate sponsor for Kanaan's No. 10 Indy car in four races in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series – St. Petersburg (March 12), Long Beach (April 9), Indianapolis 500 (May 28) and Texas Motor Speedway (June 10). The 7-Eleven logo will appear on Kanaan's racing suit throughout the season.
"It's an unbelievable feeling to be back in the 7-Eleven family," said Kanaan. "7-Eleven was my home for most of my career in INDYCAR and they were with me for 14 out of my 17 wins. It's definitely special to have them with me to celebrate my 20th INDYCAR season and I'm looking forward to getting them to victory circle again like we did many times in the past."
The driving force of this collaboration was the strong relationship between the retailer and the racecar driver. 7-Eleven was Kanaan's primary sponsor in 2003, his first full year as an INDYCAR driver, and continued through the 2010 season. Kanaan won the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship and would eventually earn the "Iron Man" title of racing. He is also the only INDYCAR driver to complete every lap of every race during a season, all 3,305 of them, and holds the record for most consecutive starts with 265.
The partnership provides an opportunity to use the enthusiasm around auto racing to connect with customers and fans in a meaningful way. Kanaan is as popular off the track as he is a winning driver while on it. In 2014, he won "Most Popular Driver," an honor voted by racing fans and one 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto recognized long ago.
"Tony has proven himself to be an enthusiastic brand ambassador, both for the sport of racing and for 7-Eleven," DePinto said. "Whenever he and the show car made a store appearance, crowds of customers would turn out to meet him. Tony would stay and sign photographs and talk to 7-Eleven customers for hours. He is a winner in everything he does."
Kanaan's first appearance for 7-Eleven this go-round will be at the 7-Eleven Experience in Las Vegas, an annual conference for the company's franchisees. A show car with the 7-Eleven logo will be featured at the event being held Feb. 1-2.
"We're really excited to have 7-Eleven joining the team for the 2017 season and it's great to see them back in the sport. They have such a strong history with Tony and we're just glad that we can be a part of bringing that relationship back into racing," said CGR President Steve Lauletta. "It's a huge milestone for Tony to be celebrating his 20th season in INDYCAR and I think 7-Eleven is a perfect partner to come on board and be a part of the celebration."
A few things have changed since 7-Eleven first sponsored Kanaan more than a decade ago. For one thing, the popular driver stays in touch with his fans on social media with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And instead of being the new kid on the block, Kanaan is now a veteran driver on the Verizon IndyCar Series circuit. Many of his fans now have families, and their children follow him as well.
"The 7-Eleven car was a staple in the Verizon IndyCar Series for years and most of my fans still come to me and talk about how great of a run we had together," said Kanaan. "It's natural for me to be excited that we are reuniting forces now at Chip Ganassi Racing."
Kanaan's favorite 7-Eleven products? Coffee, great for long drives, sports drinks and better-for-you items like protein bars and fresh fruit.
About 7-Eleven, Inc.
7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience-retailing industry. Based in Irving, Texas, 7-Eleven® operates, franchises or licenses more than 61,000 stores in 17 countries, including 10,900 in North America. Known for its iconic brands such as Slurpee®, Big Bite® and Big Gulp®, 7-Eleven has expanded into high-quality salads, side dishes, cut fruit and protein boxes, as well as pizza, chicken wings, cheeseburgers and hot chicken sandwiches. 7-Eleven offers customers industry-leading private brand products under the 7-Select® brand including healthy options, decadent treats and everyday favorites, at an outstanding value. Customers also count on 7-Eleven for payment services, self-service lockers and other convenient services. Find out more online at www.7-Eleven.com, via the 7Rewards® customer loyalty platform on the 7-Eleven mobile app, or on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Tony Kanaan
Tony Kanaan started racing go-karts in Brazil at age 8. At age 13, his father passed after fighting cancer and he made a promise that he would take care of his mom and sister and never quit racing. Kanaan kept his promise and moved up through the racing ladder from go-karts to open-wheel all the way up to INDYCAR. Kanaan made the move to the US in 1996, was crowned Indy Lights Champion in 1997, INDYCAR Champion in 2004 and Indy 500 Champion in 2013. Kanaan is the all-time leader in consecutive starts in INDYCAR history with 265. Tony is celebrating his 20th INDYCAR season in 2017.
About Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include four cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, two cars in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, two factory Ford GT's in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, two factory Ford GT's in the FIA World Endurance Championship and two Supercars in Red Bull Global Rallycross. Overall his teams have 18 championships and more than 180 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400, six Rolex 24 At Daytonas, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Pa.
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SOURCE 7-Eleven, Inc.