By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 27, 2021 at 3:02 PM

Thanks to a casual conversation held over lunch at Harry's on Oakland Avenue, Sprecher Craft Sodas is sponsoring the ARCA Menards Series race event at The Milwaukee Mile on Sunday, Aug. 29 at 2 p.m.

"You've got to invest money, to make money," said Sprecher CEO and President Sharad Chadha. "We are in 25 states now and we want to go all over the world.

"If we can go everywhere NASCAR is, it's a win-win."

Chadha said that Sprecher's business has nearly doubled since he bought the company with a group of investors in January 2020, just before the pandemic arrived.

"Our sodas, which is our core, have really taken off," he said. "We added more than 45 jobs in the last year in a half. We gave bonuses to all our employees, and we didn't lay anyone off.

"We are one of the fastest-growing craft beverage companies in the U.S."

Chadha leading drivers, family members and ARCA officials on a tour of Sprecher Brewery.

The race will be covered live on MavTV Motorsports Network and streamed on the NBC Sports Gold “TrackPass” service.

"It's very exciting," said Chadha, whose son is a big racing fan. "It's a great partnership with Menard's and ARCA. Our team is very excited, too, and many of them will be at the race on Sunday."

Chadha's son will get to wave the starting flag to open the race.

On Friday, the Glendale brewery and soda maker hosted ARCA racecar drivers Nick Sanchez, Rajah Caruth and Max Gutierrez, where they toured the brewery and met with members of the public who came to shake hands, get autographs and chat with the drivers.

The drivers are part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, which works to develop female and minority drivers and pit crew members.

Sanchez, 20, who lives in Charlotte and whose father emigrated from Cuba, is in fourth place in the Automobile Racing Club of America, (ARCA), Menards Series championship standings.

Caruth, 19, who lives in Washington D.C., has notched  44 wins this past year.

Gutierrez, 20, is from Mexico City and is a former NASCAR Mexico Series champ.

The three represent half the number of diverse drivers currently competing in the  ARCA Menards and NASCAR Whelan All-American Series.

“Sprecher is proud to sponsor this event in Milwaukee, our hometown,” said Chadha.

“Having these distinguished drivers that are a part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program as our guests is a special honor for me as a minority business owner.”

Sanchez noted that the Drive for Diversity program is now a decade old and and both he and Caruth – who drive for the Rev Racing team – first drove stock cars thanks to the program.

"It's given me a chance, where I wouldn't have had one," said Caruth, who was born in Atlanta to Caribbean immigrants.

Before hopping into an ARCA car – speeds of which can reach 200 miles per hour – Caruth's only auto racing experience came through playing a NASCAR video game.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.