NASCAR’s multicultural division set out to increase diversity and representation within the sport and it’s fanbase through strategic and inclusive outreach designed to welcome a more diverse consumer. In an effort to familiarize a broader audience with the sport of stock car racing, NASCAR partnered with the 23XI Racing Team and its star driver, Bubba Wallace to create Bubba’s Block Party, an event experience that would drive greater awareness, access and improved brand sentiment amongst the Black community. NASCAR tasked Octagon as it’s lead agency to bring Bubba’s Block Party to life. Bubba’s Block Party is a community-based event executed in key cities near NASCAR races across the United States that integrates local organizations and small businesses, provides musical performances from relevant and popular talent, and includes interactive, NASCAR educational elements that highlight African American contributions to the sport, while introducing younger, diverse audiences to NASCAR through fun experiences. Bubba’s Block Party takes NASCAR and Wallace directly into the community to engage and convert potential new fans with a goal of inviting them to the racetrack to experience America’s most popular motorsport in person.
Bubba’s Block Party events are free, one-day festivals with a capacity of approximately 4-5K people. They’re hosted at tracks, venues and parks near multicultural communities in the days before a race weekend. Events are promoted via local media outlets and provide attendees with a variety of activities that include everything from music and live concerts to food truck villages, local small business vendor retail opportunities, games, kids areas, NASCAR/23XI partner activations, VIP lounges and NASCAR edutainment stations that ensure engagement throughout the evening. In addition to festival activities, event attendees are invited to redeem vouchers for free tickets to the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race at each local market so that they could attend and experience the sport in person.
What really makes Bubba’s Block Party resonate with the community, however, is NASCAR’s commitment to ensure that these are authentic experiences built for and attended by the communities it serves. For example, while Richmond’s Bubba’s Block party counted with a Go-Go entertainment roster led by The Backyard Band in order to pay tribute to it’s local roots in the D.C area, in Chicago, NASCAR’s Bubba’s Block Party event was held in Chicago’s Southside prior to the first-ever street race held in downtown Chicago at the iconic DuSable Museum, the first nonprofit museum dedicated to the history and culture of Africans and African Americans. All vendors, from event producers to food truck and retail partners, were directly sourced from the surrounding area and were largely Black-owned small businesses driving even greater local economic impact. The event was animated by familiar voices from local radio station Power 92 and featured a headlining performance by hometown hero and Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Lupe Fiasco. Tying everything together, NASCAR had Wallace himself host of the evening, providing a familiar face from the sport to interact with the crowds, share his passion for motorsports and engage the audience to further explore NASCAR’s fandom and see him participate in the upcoming race.
Building one-day festivals as free events for the community does not come without a handful of challenges, from an extensive permitting and safety planning process working in coordination with the City of Chicago to a staffing plan and operations team of over 100 staff members that meticulously review every step of the consumer journey to ensure a fun and safe environment for all. NASCAR, 23XI Racing, Bubba Wallace and Octagon take pride in delivering an event designed and activated with a consumer-first lens, one that delivers a genuine value exchange for all parties involved, including community organizations, local vendors, sponsors, NASCAR fans and future fans alike.
NASCAR, 23XI Racing, Bubba Wallace and Octagon are proud of how Bubba’s Block Party has been received by the communities involved and the results generated to date. In 2023 we hosted 2 events (Richmond – 3/31 and Chicago – 6/28), both events reached capacity and received primetime media coverage that generated:
Over 8K in Event Attendance
91% Attendees Reported Positive Consumer Sentiment
98% Attendees Reported Positive Impact on Local Community
Coverage on 50+ Local & National Media Outlets
5K+ Race Day Invitees via Voucher Distribution
NASCAR is looking forward to continuing to host these events in more markets in 2024.