On May 11, Dan Mermelstein got behind the wheel of his $100,000 Porsche 996 Twin Turbo. He was revved up for Bullrun, a seven-day, flashy vehicle- and celebrity-studded car rally. But while most of the other participants were in it for the adrenaline rush and the nightly parties, Mermelstein was driven by a different motive. In 2000, he and friend Rob Rohn, both 28, started Chandler, Arizona-based, Vivid Racing, a distributor of aftermarket performance vehicle parts, and they were about to get noticed.
Four thousand miles of on-the-road exposure coupled with an estimated $300,000 worth of free publicity resulted in 30 percent more traffic on Vivid Racing's website in May. "[Bullrun] brings out fashion, cars and the partying lifestyle," says Mermelstein, who projects 2007 sales to reach $7.3 million. "People like to read about it, see it and hear about it. It draws a lot of attention."
Dan Mermelstein blazed a trail of cross-country publicity for his performance vehicle parts firm.