While Las Vegas is primarily known as the gambling capital of the world with luxurious hotels and bustling entertainment, the most populated city in Nevada is also home to a rapidly growing tech industry.
HighPoint, a leading customer service and technology solutions company, has taken notice. It’s why the Sparta, New Jersey-based IT company is using the South Point 400 NASCAR Cup Series race Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to plant its flag in the ground of the next U.S. tech hub. HighPoint will be the primary sponsor of the No. 10 Ford Mustang driven by Aric Almirola for the 267-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval.
“IT needs continue to grow for everyone, as does the complexity and the scalability of those needs. Speed and security are equally important, and we’ve found NASCAR to be an excellent way to tell that story,” said Mike Mendiburu, president and CEO, HighPoint. “The Las Vegas market has seen tremendous growth, not just in its existing industries like gaming and entertainment, but in tech. The amount of companies relocating to Southern Nevada is profound, and we’re using the NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as a way to familiarize these companies with HighPoint.”
HighPoint is the official IT solutions provider for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). HighPoint joined SHR in January where it has served as the primary sponsor for Chase Briscoe in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the stepping-stone division to the elite NASCAR Cup Series. Briscoe has delivered, winning a series-high seven races and earning the No. 1 seed to start the playoffs. But when the opportunity came to be the primary partner of SHR’s No. 10 team with Almirola at Las Vegas, HighPoint seized the moment.
“Our entry into NASCAR has quickly opened doors that might’ve taken years for us to open,” Mendiburu said. “When the chance came to become a primary sponsor in the NASCAR Cup Series in a market as important as Las Vegas, it was a no-brainer. It’s a quick and high-profile way for HighPoint to stand out and let businesses know who we are and what we’re about – serving our customers as a trusted advisor on how they acquire, consume and adopt technology.”
NASCAR offers a strong business-to-business component with approximately 140 Fortune 500 companies invested in the high-powered sport. Since the season began in February at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, HighPoint has been able to engage with numerous brands. SHR facilitated one such relationship with Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America.
Haas Automation is building a 2.4-million-square-foot factory on 279 acres in Henderson, Nevada, just a 30-minute drive south of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ground has been broken with a scheduled completion date in late 2022. HighPoint is already at the table to discuss and facilitate Haas Automation’s IT needs, from hardware and software to comprehensive cyber security.
“NASCAR is the perfect intersection of sports and business,” said Mike Verlander, executive vice president of sales and marketing, SHR. “It’s our job to put competitive racecars on the track that can win and compete for a championship, but it’s also our job to facilitate B2B partnerships. Success for us transcends the racetrack. Putting HighPoint in touch with Haas Automation and facilitating new business opportunities is one example of how we deliver for our partners.”
Haas Automation joins other blue-chip brands putting down roots in Nevada’s desert floor. Google and Amazon have expanded to Las Vegas, with many other, smaller tech companies also calling the area home. A large number have congregated in downtown Las Vegas at Bank of America Plaza to create an “innovation center” with online retailer Zappos.com serving as an anchor to this tech ecosystem. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is also contributing, with its Harry Reid Research and Technology Park bringing a “tech incubator” to Southern Nevada with 93 acres of dedicated tech space.
“We assist companies large and small,” Mendiburu said. “HighPoint was founded nearly 25 years ago in the basement of my home, and today we have offices in New Jersey, North Carolina and the U.K. Managing growth and keeping up with technology’s never-ending advancement, all while protecting a brand – we’ve done that. We have first-hand knowledge of the kind of technology a company needs to run efficiently and securely – from the billion-dollar company building a new manufacturing center to the disruptive startup that will influence the future. Las Vegas is home to all of these businesses, and we want to let these companies know that we’re here for them.
“Las Vegas also holds special meaning for me. I literally bumped into Chase Briscoe’s dad on the sidewalk of The Strip last November before we were even a partner of Chase and Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s a genuine guy and you can tell that with Chase the apple did not fall far from the tree. It was a chance encounter that reaffirmed our decision to align with Chase and SHR.”
Almirola, driver of the No. 10 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang in the South Point 400, is one of the more tech-savvy drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series. Even before COVID-19 led to remote competition meetings via Microsoft Teams and countless media availabilities by way of Zoom, Almirola managed life via his phone and laptop.
“It’s amazing how much we rely on technology to help manage our lives,” said Almirola, a two-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner. “You kind of take it for granted until you step back and realize the complexity of it all. And when it comes to what we do at Stewart-Haas Racing, the mechanical parts and pieces we use out on the racetrack don’t work as well if the IT isn’t there to support our efforts. Everything we do is engineering based and measured in thousandths. Tape measures are long gone. It’s all about IT.”
Almirola is enjoying a career year in 2020, with more top-fives (six) and laps led (288) than in any of his eight previous full-time seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series. And with his fifth-place finish last Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Almirola tied his mark for the most top-10s in a single season (17) and advanced to the second round of the NASCAR Playoffs.
“HighPoint is guided by 33 fundamentals, all of which are based on the principles of honesty, integrity and trust,” Mendiburu said. “We’ve found a like-minded organization in Stewart-Haas Racing and similarly focused drivers in Chase Briscoe and Aric Almirola. When you combine our service culture with our long-term industry expertise, we’re able to create purpose that aligns in meeting our business objectives.”
The South Point 400 begins at 7 p.m. EDT on Sunday with live coverage on NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.