Team Solitaire and Heartbeat Hot Sauce race Oakland with a NASCAR connection
The Monster Energy Supercross and the Xfinity Series share something in common this weekend as Heartbeat Hot Sauce graces the liveries of Team Solitaire racers Dominque Thury and Cole Thompson in the motorcycle series and Ryan Ellis as makes his 100th combined start in NASCAR’s top three series on Saturday. Ellis currently has 67 Xfinity starts, 26 in the Truck Series, and six in Cup.
For both teams and the owner of Heartbeat Hot Sauce, it is a way of expanding a community of athletes in the greatest need of support.
Heartbeat Motorsports and Team Solitaire were looking for a special way to connect the two series to do something special in 2023, but it appeared the stars would not align until persistent rain forced Supercross to reschedule their Round 2 in Oakland. Originally scheduled for January 14th, that race was postponed until February 18 to coincide with the Xfinity season opener.
“When I first saw the 2023 schedules, I was a little disappointed that none of our dates lined up with anything else the Heartbeat had going on because they are involved in some many unique things whether it’s racing or even the UFC,” said Chris Elliot, Principal of Team Solitaire. “But with the Oakland round date change, the opportunity to collaborate with their NASCAR effort was an option.
“It’s been a stressful month, putting together all the limited-edition gear, helmets, bikes, and marketing efforts in less than 30 days was not easy, but our partners at Leatt, Throttle Syndicate, and Shades of Gray stepped up big because they knew how much it meant to us to do this. ... The days of showing up to ride into the top 10 and then pack up your boring old bikes and gear to go home are over and if you aren’t lining yourself up with brands that want you to get creative and aren’t afraid to put in the work with you, you are going to get left behind.”
The synergy between the two sponsorships goes deeper. Ellis’ father originally conceived of a path that would include motorcycle racing instead of stock cars.
“I’ve always been a fan of supercross,” Ellis said in a press release. “My dad raced bikes a lot of his life and transitioned to cars after some big injuries. I was actually put on a bike before a race car because my dad wanted me to go that route, but literally drove head-first into a fire hydrant within the first few seconds of my first ride (lol this is seriously true). After that short ending to my motocross career, we got a go-kart and the rest is history.”
A large part Ellis’ attraction for Heartbeat Motorsports is their commitment to help athletes grow. That is also reflected in their sponsorship of Team Solitaire, one of the Supercross privateer teams that does not receive the same degree of support as full factory teams.
Team Solitaire has had a strong start to their season. Thompson made all three of the 250 West main events with a best finish of 10th at Snapdragon Park in San Diego. Both riders qualified for the San Diego main as Thury advanced directly into the San Diego main after finishing eighth in his heat.
“When we decided to form Heartbeat Motorsports, the idea was to create an umbrella that all our sponsored athletes could come together under and feel part of a larger project. Something beyond just their own discipline of racing,” said Al Bourbouhakis, Owner of Heartbeat Hotsauce. “A team feeling is what we hoped for. This weekend we’re going to see two of the highest levels of professional motorsports competing in their respective events but simultaneously bearing our brands name and a common livery, it’s hard to articulate the feeling that gives me.