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ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — NASCAR’s Cup Series returns to FOX40 this Sunday with the race from Richmond, Virginia.

The sport is known for its sponsorships. In fact, NASCAR relies on its sponsors more than any other sport in the world, and a local auto dealership is jumping in on the action.

Elk Grove Ford recently sponsored the #78 car in last month’s Bristol Dirt Race.

“It’s a cool deal, right? Everybody wants to go play in the NASCAR world. It’s a fun world,” said Matt Wood, the owner of Elk Grove Ford. “That’s a bucket list item you think you’re never going to be able to check off. We were fortunate enough to check it off.”

But it wasn’t by chance for Wood: His family has been a major player in the sprint car world of racing for several years now.

That experience on the dirt track opened the door for Wood, his sprint car driver and the dealership to sponsor the #78 Ford for Live Fast Motorsports and race in the Bristol Dirt Race last month.

“The nice thing about the Bristol Dirt Race is it takes a lot of the money out of the deal, and a team with a smaller backing like Live Fast Motorsports can be competitive because dirt is the equalizer,” Wood explained.

“It doesn’t take the greatest horsepower, it doesn’t take the latest and greatest. It’s about that butt in that seat getting it done, and that’s our strong point. We’re good on dirt,” he continued.

Wood wouldn’t disclose the exact amount he and his marketing partners paid to be the charter sponsor of the #78 Ford at Bristol — just that it was a lot of money.

His driver, Shane Golobic, had never raced at the Cup Series level but was doing well 41 laps in when the #78 Ford got caught up in a wreck, which ended their day.

But it also brought a lot of attention to the dealership.

“Honestly, racing is probably the most effective form of marketing we do,” Wood said. “We sell a tremendous number of vehicles to racers, to racers’ families, to people we meet at the racetracks, to fans that come up and want to meet Shane and want to interact with the team.”

“Dollar for dollar, it’s probably the most effective advertising we have,” he added.

You probably won’t see Elk Grove Ford back as the sponsor for a team this year, that includes the race in June at Sonoma.

Again, it’s all about the dirt and the opportunity at Bristol again next year that Wood and the guys at Elk Grove Ford have their eye on.

FOX40 will be airing NASCAR’s Cup Series race this Sunday. The coverage begins at 11:30 a.m.