A new credit card for race car enthusiasts has started along the track.
The Daytona USA MasterCard is being issued by SunTrust BankCard, Orlando, comarketed with Daytona USA, a new motor sports entertainment center located on the grounds of the Daytona International Speedway.
The card competes against MBNA Corp.'s Nascar MasterCard program, which has attracted 350,000 cardholders since it left the starting line in 1993.
"Stock car race fans are very loyal consumers and very brand conscious," said Edward Newell Jr., SunTrust BankCard's senior vice president in charge of marketing for east central Florida.
The Daytona USA card has no annual fee, and its introductory rate of 7.9% jumps to prime plus 8.9% after five months.
The bank said rebates and rewards are being worked out but should be fine-tuned by the end of the year.
The Nascar MasterCard, a no-fee affinity card with an interest rate of prime plus 8.9%, is marketed to the 50,000 members of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and to 5.3 million people who spend $1 billion annually on racing tickets and merchandise.
Mr. Newell said the Daytona USA cobranded card has been advertised in local papers and that he expects the card will have a strong regional appeal.
Although Mr. Newell would not say how many cardholders the bank expects to add with the program, he said the entertainment facility should attract about one million people a year.
Philip Denyes, general manager of Daytona USA, said the entertainment complex attracted 9,000 visitors to its opening on the Fourth of July.
Funded by the International Speedway Corp., it includes a cinema, interactive, computer-simulated race car rides, and a gift shop with race car merchandise.
As the exclusive bank card sponsor, the SunTrust Banks Inc. unit, which has 710,000 card accounts and $750 million in outstandings, will have the right to promote the cobranded card using the Daytona USA logo. It will also be able to form partnerships with the 12 other Daytona USA sponsors, Mr. Denyes said.
Leslie Dukker Doty, senior vice president and director of marketing for SunTrust BankCard, said the Daytona USA card "is a card for people who enjoy the thrill of speed."