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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Romancini, Conquest Sign Sponsor For Sao Paulo

Guarana Dolly will back Brazilian driver Mario Romancini and Conquest Racing for the season-opening IZOD IndyCar Series Sao Paulo Indy 300 next weekend.

The name is unfamiliar to most Americans, nevermind American race fans, but the Dolly brand is prominent in Brazil. Dolly is a Brazilian-based corporation that manufactures soft drinks. Their lead product is Guarana Dolly, a soft-drink produced with guarana extract. Guarana is a common plant in Brazil whose extract contains a very high level of caffeine. According to a 2007 Wall Street Journal article, guarana soft drinks exceed the sales of cola-based drinks in Brazil. Dolly also manufactures soft drinks typical of American companies, such as cola, lemon-lime, orange, and grape-based beverages.

Dolly has a history in motorsports, sponsoring two cars in Brazilian stock car racing. Indeed, the most prominent image on the Dolly homepage is one of its stock cars, and the site features a handful of videos of Brazilian stock car racing, suggesting the company will be a valuable promotional partner to Conquest, IndyCar, and the race organizers.

Sao Paulo will be Romancini's first IndyCar race in only his second season running open-wheel cars in North America. Last season the young Brazilian finished 6th in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Despite European road course seasoning and limited oval experience, Romancini actually raced better on the circle tracks last season, scoring all four of his podiums and both of his wins on that style of racetrack. His best road course finish was sixth, scored twice, in the second St. Petersburg race and Toronto.

This will be Conquest Racing's fourth IndyCar Series season and third consecutive. The team debuted in IndyCar in 2002 before leaving for Champ Car until its demise. Last season the team fielded a handful of different drivers, often bringing their own sponsorship, but no one car or driver for the full season. They fielded one car in 2002, two cars in 2008, and a limited program for one car last year with a second car attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

So far nothing has been announced in regards to a full-time sponsorship, but rumors in the Brazilian press a few weeks ago suggested that two Brazilian drivers were going to join the team and bring funding. Almost all news related to the team thus far this season has been broken by Brazilian media outlets.

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