(Feb. 19) The Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association has signed on with Braun Racing, Mooresville, N.C., for a third year of NASCAR sponsorship.

In an attempt to cash in on the fastest growing sport in the U.S., the association will apply a racing theme to retail promotions, radio advertising, contests, on-premise promotions and television appearances.

“It’s an innovative new marketing idea for a produce product,” said Chris Tully, president of the Garden City, NY-based Preston/Tully Group, which represents the association. “We get a 700% return on our investment.”

Last year the association-sponsored car won the Dollar General 300 in Charlotte, N.C., generating more than $270,000 in publicity, Tully said.

The No. 32 Toyota HassCar is scheduled to be in seven nationwide series events this season, including the Daytona 500. Drivers this season are Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.

Busch, a four-year veteran of the circuit, has accumulated 11 Nationwide Series wins, 11 pole-position starts, 38 top five finsihes and 56 top 10 finishes.

Hamlin joined the NASCAR series in 2005 and has won the Bud Shootout, two races, and three pole-position starts.