Wyo. manufacturer to sponsor NASCAR car

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UPTON – A Wyoming manufacturer – or at least its logo – will hit the fast lane later this month when its serves as primary sponsor for NASCAR racer Mike Wallace’s car at Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Unker’s, a “therapeutic salve” manufactured solely in Upton with a staff of five and sold through about 50 retailers in Wyoming and hundreds worldwide, will sponsor Wallace’s car at a Feb. 22 race starting at 1 p.m.

“This is a one-time event for us (all I can afford) but WOW!,” wrote Patricia Pendleton, owner of parent company Olde Tyme Remedies in an email. “What an opportunity. Not only will 100,000 people attend the race, but it is live on ABC, ESPN, Sirius Radio, etc.”

She said the possibilities have put her on cloud nine. Where many logos fade into normalcy on NASCAR cars after being seen so often, she said people should notice a first-timer like her company.

“When they see this yellow ‘Unker’s-mobile’ as I jokingly call it … people will see this and they’ll say … ‘What the heck is an Unker’s?'” Pendleton said in a phone interview Friday. “It will drive a lot of business our way.”

To answer Pendleton’s rhetorical question, Unker’s is a therapeutic salve made from all-natural botanical oils sourced from American suppliers, according to the company’s website. It claims to be a safer alternative to other chemically enhanced products that the company doesn’t name directly.

Pendleton added that she is “stepping out on faith” to borrow money from her bank to pay for the sponsorship, which is “nothing to sneeze at.” Most sources peg the costs of a primary sponsorship deal for a single race in the six-figures range, though Pendleton said she didn’t want to divulge her contract’s cost.

Unker’s logos incorporate the phrase “To God be the Glory,” and that is exactly who Pendleton is directing the glory to with this development. She said the sponsorship came as an extension of a conversation with Mike Wallace that had started three years earlier when Pendleton was the new owner of Unker’s. Wallace told her he had noticed many members of his pit crew using the salve to treat cuts, scrapes and various other mechanic maladies.

Consequently he called her to learn more about the company and broach the subject of a possible sponsorship. She declined the possibility at the time, but left it open for the future. Fast forwarding, she said she had been praying for opportunities, and Wallace was on her mind for some reason last weekend.

“To reach out to Mike when I did was not planned – it was prompted,” she said. “Turns out [Wallace] was down in North Carolina talking to God about bringing him a sponsor. We’re on different ends of the same spectrum.”

Pendleton admitted she knows “nothing” about NASCAR, but said she’s looking forward to being on hand at the upcoming race. Wallace, for his part, has won various races throughout his career, but there’s no guarantee he will even qualify for the Feb. 22 race.

One local manufacturing leader touted the sponsorship for the small company.

“Pretty impressive for a company consisting of five employees … in Upton, Wyo.,” wrote Larry Stewart, director of the University of Wyoming’s Manufacturing-Works in an email. “Yet another of Wyoming’s best kept secrets in manufacturing.”

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