Ryan Ellis’ Extensive Work Leads To NASCAR Sustainability

Ryan Ellis

Getty Ryan Ellis prepares for a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Ryan Ellis is currently in his second season with Alpha Prime Racing, which includes the addition of several sponsors. The latest to join the lineup is ShineWater, which is the direct result of hard work and very little sleep.

Ellis, who has also worked in marketing and PR during his NASCAR career, spent the offseason trying to focus on the business side. The current landscape in NASCAR forces teams to focus on drivers that can bring money to the table.

Ellis and his wife, Allison, realized that pursuing a full-time racing schedule without partners providing support is not sustainable, so they spent hundreds of hours working on building a solid foundation that included Four Loko, Costa Oil, ShineWater, and other companies.

“I kind of started initiating those processes in my daily life and, honestly, I was pulling like 18-20-hour days,” Ellis told Heavy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “It was not sustainable at all, but we grew it a lot. And that’s the only way to have job sustainability, so I feel a lot better. Now, I’m sleeping a lot better.”

This effort is reflected in the largest schedule — by far — of Ellis’ career. He will take on at least 25 races for Alpha Prime Racing while serving as the anchor driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro, and he will work with several primary partners in the process.

“We’ve raised like $600,000 just in the offseason,” Ellis continued. “Like, we more than doubled the amount of sponsorship we had just in three months. So I was just losing sleep over it and in a good way.

“I was addicted to it like a ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ thing. It was bad though. We were… no sleep and a lot of caffeine. I actually literally suffered caffeine withdrawals in the offseason.”

This Work Has Been a Selling Point for Partners

Ryan Ellis

Jeff HildebrantShineWater sponsored Ryan Ellis at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

As Ellis explained, his path to the NASCAR Xfinity Series is not like other peers. He does not have the lineage associated with a big name. Though he joked that he is willing to change his surname if necessary. He also hasn’t received any diversity money despite being a Japanese driver.

What Ellis does have is his willingness to put in countless hours for his partners. There is no middleman. He is the one managing accounts, putting together packages, and helping partners prepare for the move into NASCAR and stock car racing. He has done so while preparing to compete in dozens of Xfinity Series races over the past few years.

“Obviously, I think I’m a good driver, as good as any other driver out there,” Ellis said. “Any driver would say that, but my unique selling proposition — my USP — is just that I have these processes. I’ve worked in marketing and I’m more willing, I think, to spend [more] time than other drivers are with their sponsors and finding sponsors.”

As evidence of this effort, the early portions of the 2023 Xfinity Series schedule will include an ever-changing primary scheme on the No. 43 Chevrolet. Ellis specifically noted during the conversation that his first nine races will all have different primaries.

“The hardest part has been continuing to move forward because I haven’t had time to sell because I’ve been managing all these new accounts,” Ellis said. “I’ve had so many new sponsors come on board, like ShineWater and like Rolling Plains next week. Getting all their assets ready, making sure they’re ready for their first race has been 99 percent of my time so far.”

Ellis Has Personal Ties to 1 New Partner

Ryan Ellis

GettyRyan Ellis (left) races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Ellis has showcased a wide variety of sponsors during his first 14 races with Alpha Prime Racing. Longtime partner Keen Parts was obviously along for the ride, but he also had primary schemes for Rich Mar Florist, Heartbeat Hot Sauce, Costa Oil, and Renascent Demolition.

One new addition for the 2023 season is ShineWater, a nutrient-enhanced water with 100 percent of the daily recommended Vitamin D dosage. This company is new to Alpha Prime Racing and NASCAR, but it is one that became very important to Ellis in recent years.

“I have the best sponsor plug in the world for ShineWater,” Ellis added. “We were just talking about how I didn’t sleep at all during the offseason — literally stupid. The blinds broke in my office. I was shut in my dark office for three or four months. I fully believe in Vitamin D supplements, and I’ve learned that through COVID when we were all just locked in the house and we weren’t traveling so much.

“I was legitimately taking vitamin D supplements every single day, and I know it has a big effect on your mental health and just overall health. So when I found ShineWater — I think it was me looking around for certain leads — I’m like, ‘I really just want to try this.’

“…So it’s like the perfect way to get the nutrients that we need, and my crew freakin’ loves it to the point that we’re stashing bottles of it in the hauler and hidden places so that we had enough for this weekend.”


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