Unusual sponsors have come and gone for drivers over the years

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What’s in a sponsor? Funding for a Verizon IndyCar Series team, hopefully.

But there have been some strange ones over the years. A number of current drivers were asked at this year’s Indianapolis 500 what their most unusual or unique sponsor has been. Here are their responses:

Sebastien Bourdais, KVSH Racing: “Probably Cialis.” (Did he receive a lifetime supply?) “No. It would have been expired by the time I needed it.” (Bourdais is shown in the photo above decked out in his Cialis firesuit in 2003, with Newman/Haas Racing teammate Bruno Junqueira.)

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “QuickTrim (weight-loss supplement) was weird.”

Alexander Rossi, Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian: “I guess a random one was AirAsia, considering I didn’t race in Asia and I was American and AirAsia didn’t exist anywhere I was, that’s a little bit random. But it was a great sponsor. I worked with them for three years.”

Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport: “I’ve had a gun store. Indianapolis Trading Post, I think it was.”

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing: “I got Vaseline Men’s Care at one point.”

Alex Tagliani, A.J. Foyt Enterprises: “When I was here on the pole in 2011, the Bowers & Wilkins sponsorship car was for a high-end speaker company. When I had moved to Las Vegas in 2000, I was buying Bowers & Wilkins speakers. My friend had an audio/video company and he installed Bowers & Wilkins speakers in the homes I was building and selling for like eight years. In 2010, when I tried to rejoin Indy car and build our own team, we had Bowers & Wilkins as a sponsor. I called the owner and he decided to sponsor us. I never thought I would get a sponsor like that, but maybe he felt sorry for me. I made contributions to his company for eight years and finally I got the sponsorship. It was interesting I was carrying this brand in my homes without knowing they would eventually be a sponsor.”

Charlie Kimball, Chip Ganassi Racing: “When I was racing in Europe, Calavo, the California avocado company that my grandmother grows for, my parents grow for, they were trying to grow their European exposure. They brought a couple of vendors out. Calavo was good.”

Jack Hawksworth, A.J. Foyt Enterprises: “Probably NRG, who was on my car in 2014 with Bryan Herta. It was an energy drink which didn’t exist. I don’t think it did. We can laugh at it now, but I don’t think Bryan was laughing at the time. I don’t really know what happened. All I know is they got completely ripped off the car a few races later.”

Bryan Clauson, Dale Coyne/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing: “We have Murello’s Bail Bonds from Noblesville (Ind.). It’s right in my hometown, in case I ever get in trouble.”

Stefan Wilson, KV Racing Technology: “Probably Innovative Solar. They (were) on board in May and hopefully they’ll be on board in the future. It’s a solar company that installs pretty large solar farms around the country. I want to use that solar energy on my pit crew.”

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