If anyone’s named his or her car or talked to it regularly – or even felt guilty driving another one – he or she is not alone. American car owners see their vehicles as family members, with 60 percent considering their cars to be part of the family, according to new research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Toco Warranty.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Toco Warranty Ford Mustang for Stewart Haas Racing (SHR) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, admits he hasn’t named many of his racecars since joining NASCAR, but he has a favorite dirt car from the 2003 season when he was racing around the Midwest.
“I once had a dirt car we called Brown Eyed Girl,” he said. “We named her that because we were dirt racing at the time and she won just about every race she entered that year. I haven’t named many of the racecars since then. But the old Brown Eyed Girl is the one that sticks in my memory.”
About 56 percent of American car owners go as far as naming their cars, according to the survey. With a bond so deep, what goes into the naming process? Results found that 42 percent of named cars get their names from a prominent feature, like color, the sound it makes, etc. Other name inspirations – 20 percent – come from movies, TV shows, and songs, and another 17 percent of names are triggered by famous cars or celebrities. The survey unveiled just how close people are to their cars. Two in five of the 2,000 motorists studied said they regularly talk to their vehicle.
Given that Americans speak to their cars approximately 13 times a week, with 18 percent of owners speaking to them every single trip, one might wonder what they talk about. For 63 percent of owners, car conversations are primarily encouraging the car to go faster or make it up a hill. What other quirky habits do Americans have with their cars? It should come as no surprise that many identify their cars with personality traits. In fact, half of American car owners describe their car as having a “trustworthy” personality. More than one in three say their car’s personality is fun, and 28 percent say their vehicle is adventurous. Twenty-two percent believe their car is charming.
Bowyer doesn’t care as much about his Mustang’s charm as he does its performance on the track.
“I just want my hot rod to be fast,” he said with a laugh. “If she’s fast, I’ll put up with anything.”
Bowyer will carry the Toco Warranty paint scheme on his No. 14 Ford Mustang at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Bowyer arrives at Chicago after finishing 11th on the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway last weekend. He’s 12th in points with just 10 races remaining before the NASCAR playoffs begin Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“Maybe if we win this weekend in Chicagoland, we’ll start naming all of our cars,” Bowyer said. “We’ll do anything if it helps us lock down a playoff spot.”
Sunday’s race in Chicagoland marks Toco Warranty’s third appearance as the primary sponsor on Bowyer’s No. 14 Mustang. In its first season as a partner at SHR, Toco has initiated several racing programs, including the Toco All-Star Sweepstakes in which one lucky winner and his or her guest will attend the season finales of both the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The winner will be hosted by Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) for the World of Outlaws World Finals Nov. 8 to 9 at The Dirt Track near Charlotte, North Carolina, before jetting off to South Florida to see the NASCAR season finale Nov. 16 to 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). Toco Warranty will provide VIP access that includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, a rental car and event tickets. Tony Stewart, the owner of TSR and the co-owner of SHR, will be at both events, where the winner will see the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion in action as an owner, facilitating meet-and-greets with 10-time and reigning World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz at Charlotte and Bowyer in Homestead.
To register, fans simply need to go to www.TocoWarranty.com. A winner will be drawn by Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. EDT.
“Toco Warranty has long realized that Americans view their cars as four-wheeled family members. Whether you are driving to little league, on a road trip or heading out on your daily commute, we know that every mile counts,” said Nota Berger, CEO of Toco Warranty. “Keeping cars reliable and on the road is Toco’s mission. Straightforward coverage plans to help hard-working Americans keep their cars for longer is the Toco promise.”
CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Toco Warranty Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your thoughts on Chicagoland Speedway?
“Chicago has always been a cool racetrack. It is a sister track to my home track in Kansas and that fan base up there is that Midwestern fan base I feel most comfortable with, and I enjoy going to that racetrack and interacting with them in the infield and everything else. Again, we are fortunate to be able to race all over the country and see different people in different ways of life.”
What are your thoughts on your 2019 season?
“Success is measured by winning – that’s goal number one. We still haven’t accomplished that, so that’s our priority. Whether that’s this weekend in Chicago or the final race at Homestead, we have got to get a race win this season and, if we don’t, I’ll be disappointed.”