NEW SERIES - THE SPONSORS - eCAR MOVER OWNER LOOKS TO CONNECT DOTS IN B2B LINK WITH NHRA, OTHER STAKEHOLDERS
Pro Stock owner-driver Alan Prusiensky has found sponsorship the hard way before.
While engine testing his Dodge Dart on the dynamometer at his Rockaway, N.J., shop, a fuel line came loose, sprayed fuel all over the booth, and ignited a blaze. He emptied two full-sized extinguishers that contained Cold Fire/FireFreeze, an environmentally friendly fire-suppressing agent. When he went to the Cold Fire/Firefreeze office nearby to have both canisters filled, the woman who owned the business asked what caused a fire so drastic that he needed two cannisters to douse. Prusiensky told her. She took an interest in his racing. It turned out her company had had a sticker on John Force’s Funny Car years ago. Later, Prusinensky and wife Christine approached the woman about a possible marketing partnership, and they struck a deal that lasted for a handful of races.
But with current sponsor eCar Mover, Prusiensky didn’t have to do anything dramatic, intentionally or unintentionally.
John Mingolelli, founder member and vice-president of eCar Mover, already loved drag racing, already had pursued his own career in the sport. He hit it off with the equally hard-working Prusiensky, who was approximately the same age, shared that Northeast racing-scene vibe, and also was building and expanding his own business.
“This is all I love to do. This is all I think about, other than my family and my business. That’s it. I don't have any other hobbies,” Mingolelli said. “It’s my goal to win a Pro Stock championship with Alan.” And he said he’s in the sport for the long haul: “We could do this for the next 20 years, you know what I mean?”
How Mingolelli and Prusiensky forged a two-car Pro Stock team with a B2B bent that includes rookie and former crew member Mike Callahan is a story of passion and perseverance.
“I’ve been in this kind of space for pretty much as long as I've been in business. I've been in motorsports. My life starts pretty much as a street racer in New York,” he said. Observing entrenched racers such as John Nobile and Mike Castellana and engine guru Scott Shafiroff only whetted Mingolelli’s appetite for more speed.
After about five years in heads-up NMRA racing in his beloved Mustangs, he had a bit of an awakening. It came at the SEMA Show, when one of his sponsors handed him a dose of reality as they chatted in the sponsor’s booth. Mingolelli said, “He looked at me and started laughing. He said, ‘John, you’re never going to get there racing Mustangs.’ He’s like, ‘This is not like Major League Baseball, where you go AA to AAA and then you go right to the [big leagues].’ He goes, ‘You're going to need money, a lot of money. Go back to your business. I would stop racing.’”
The ambitious New Yorker didn’t want to slow down with going fast. So he took a serious look at the NHRA’s Factory Stock Showdown class when it first popped up, figuring he had more than a passing interest in that engine program and was familiar with Mustangs, especially keen to race a Cobra Jet. But Pro Stock always had his attention. Prusinesky also caught his eye, and Mingolelli’s wife urged him to phone the privateer. He called Prusiensky, they talked, and each took a chance on the other.
By then, Mingolelli and business partner Anthony Salib had built eCar Mover into a car-transport empire that stretched across North America. And how proud he was to see Prusiensky roll up to the starting line at the 2017 St. Louis race – and roll into the FOX Sports TV camera frame. The logo he had designed himself was being broadcast to a million or more households.
“I have the picture, and I even videoed it – I took my camera phone and kind of zoomed into the FOX News coverage. It was qualifying. It rained. There was a delay, and [after the rain stopped], Pro Stock was the first one up,” he said. In a six-second flash,
So “eCar Mover” was on the dragstrip and in the consciousness of the American consumer. But did everyone know what eCar Mover does?
“Kalitta Air hauls cargo with planes. We haul cargo with trucks,” Mingolelli said.
Mingolelli brought Salib into the operation he founded in 1996 on Long Island that included a towing service and delivered automobiles to and from auction houses and to Florida for snowbirds. He moved headquarters to the Tampa area and eventually teamed with Salib and rebranded the business as eCar Mover. Claiming no business is too large or too small, eCar Mover services manufacturers (Ford, General Motors, FCA, and Tesla), dealerships, auction houses, rental-car companies (Avis, Budget, Hertz), online buyers, and any company or individual who needs to transport one or more vehicles.
an OEM logistics provider for as well as individuals looking to move vehicles anywhere across the United States and Canada, Prusiensky sees the opportunity to continue to build his program. The automotive logistics company is expanding into Canada and also has transportation relationships with Avis, Hertz, and Budget.
And eCar Mover swings into overdrive in the aftermath of natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy that hit the Eastern seaboard in 2012. That catastrophe that claimed 75 lives in the United States alone (233 from the Caribbean through Canada) destroyed almost a quarter of a million cars among the estimated $70.2 billion worth of damage. But eCar Mover was at the ready to clear those ruined cars, through a contract with Copart (which used to sponsor Brandon Bernstein’s Top Fuel dragster). The company exceeded expectations and soon grew its reach across borders and across the ocean.
With its involvement in the NHRA and Prusiensky’s Pro Stock team, Mingolelli and eCar Mover are poised to share relationships with a broad spectrum of common marketing partners. Mingolelli said he sees the opportunity as mutually beneficial among eCar Mover, Prusiensky’s team, and the NHRA. Moreover, Mingolelli said he has been excited that Prusiensky has been developing his own Dodge program.
Salib, whose grandfather used to race at Bakersfield years ago, has no particular interest in drag racing. But Mingolelli is trying his hardest to show his partner the B2B value of this coast-to-coast platform for eCar Mover. He’s hoping the NHRA exposure will help him “connect the dots” in a cross-pollination campaign. Both entities, after all, work with automakers, tech schools, and various other vendors and suppliers. Just before Christmas 2020, NHRA sponsor Camping World announced a partnership with Lordstown Motors to sell the awaited Endurance electric pickup truck. So that possibly could open a new business channel for eCar Mover. Mingolelli, certainly investing faith in the NHRA community’s reputation for brand loyalty, is hoping to connect those dots between Salib and his heritage along the way.
Frankly, the deal with Prusiensky began with just an outlay of $10,000 that Mingolelli had remaining in his budget their first year. So they have parlayed that into the Prusiensky/Callahan development that appears on the brink of a breakout season. When he began this venture, Mingolelli said, he was “on the outside of the tent.” That might not be the case anymore, for eCarMover has indicated it will bring several companies along for the experience this season at selected NHRA national events.
“Alan and I have been working together for over five years to get to this point,” Mingolelli said. “We had had a lot of ups and downs to get to this point. Alan had his accident in Charlotte a few years ago, and that set us back. But now we are full steam ahead, and I could not be happier with this sponsorship. Our goal is to use the NHRA to further promote eCarMover as the premiere automotive logistics company in North America.”
Prusiensky called Mingolelli “a great guy to have in your corner” and said, “John and I go way back. We are excited to promote eCarMover in 2021. I also know John is working on a couple more deals that will just help us make our program even better. I have a great team and we are pouring our hearts into this Pro Stock program.”
Ultimately, Mingolelli said, he wants “to groom the next Erica Enders or Alex Laughlin.”
For the moment, though, a strong showing in the Pro Stock class at the four-wide Denso Las Vegas Nationals April 16-18 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway would be a terrific start.