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Barnes Dyer, Toyota Sign Deal for Sponsorship of Racing Events

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Barnes Dyer Marketing, an Orange County sports marketing company, has been retained by Toyota Motor Sales USA to handle sponsorship marketing for all three of its factory racing activities.

The deal is a “significant one” for Barnes Dyer, said Bruce Barnes, founder and president of the privately owned company.

It adds to Barnes Dyer’s already-impressive stable of professional racing drivers and automotive racing teams, including Toyota’s prototype sports car and off-road truck racing teams, as well as its 14-event Atlantic Championship road racing series.

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Under the contract, Barnes Dyer will receive a retainer plus a commission for each sponsorship sold.

The company typically arranges for major corporations to sponsor a race driver or a racing team by underwriting operating costs for an entire season. A full sponsorship can easily cost up to $1 million or more, Barnes said.

In the case of the Atlantic Championship--a series of 14 races in the United States and Canada for open-cockpit, open-wheel cars powered by special Toyota racing engines--sponsorship would involve underwriting all or a portion of the organizing group’s costs.

Toyota’s team for closed-cockpit cars--”think of the Batmobile,” Barnes suggests to those unfamiliar with auto racing--is former champion driver Dan Gurney’s All-America Racers. Drivers for the Gurney team, which is based in Santa Ana, are Juan Miguel Fangio II, who won the series’ top driver title in 1992, and P.J. Jones, son of Indianapolis champion Parnelli Jones.

Barnes said Tuesday that his company had also signed a multi-year sponsorship marketing deal with the Screaming Eagles Racing Team owned by actor Craig T. Nelson, who plays the lead role in the TV network series “Coach.”

Barnes Dyer Marketing was formed in 1974. Its racing clients now include drivers Al Unser Jr., winner of the 1992 Indianapolis 500; Bobby Rahal, the 1992 Indy Car racing circuit champion; and Indy Car circuit drivers Al Unser Sr. and Johnny Rutherford, both multiple winners of the Indianapolis 500, and Kevin Cogan.

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Through a separate unit, Women’s Collegiate Marketing Program, Barnes Dyer also handles sponsorship marketing for women’s sports programs at a variety of colleges and universities, including USC, UCLA and the University of Texas.

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