The Tail That Wags The Dog- NASCAR Sponsors

Suarez at Michigan So, let me get this straight: Daniel Suarez hands out Dunkin’ Donuts to fans on some TV segment, and so Subway drops him like a rock? Look at the mad scramble now. It goes to show you where the real power in NASCAR lies- with NASCAR sponsors.

You already heard how Monster Energy is a little perturbed with the governing body over some of the on track deliverables. As one who has lived this trip as a media advertising rep, I am not surprised. A bit disappointed, but not surprised. Do you ever wonder why there is a certain air of political correctness about the sport? It’s because NASCAR sponsors expect it.

Think back and remember how Scott’s reacted to Carl Edwards’ skirmishes with Brad Keselowski. How about the reaction by Mars on the behavior of Kyle Busch? The sponsor raises a ruckus, says it doesn’t reflect their values, and the driver trots out in front of the camera with some half-baked apology. Then the drivers go forward with a slightly more muted approach to conflict management. When NASCAR sponsors have millions of bucks to dangle over your livelihood, I suppose it’s what one should expect. Heck, for 10 millions, Subway could introduce a mud sandwich and I’d go on camera extolling the new products virtues like it was the greatest culinary delight ever devised.

If you’re the team, what would you do? You’d eat that slimy sandwich too. If you think about it, it’s kind of the reverse of the whole Colin Kaepernick flap. I see where the Kansas City Chiefs organization has told its players if they’re caught kneeling, sitting or otherwise doing anything other than standing at attention during the National Anthem, they’re history. You can cry “free speech” all you want, but if you play for that team, then you’re under obligation to toe the company line. Unless of course, you’re willing to walk.

Nobody asked me, but I think Subway was looking for an out. Nothing against Daniel Suarez, but in the eyes of Madison Avenue, he’s no Carl Edwards. With all his well-kempt physique and on camera charm, Mr. Ed was a NASCAR sponsora dream. Suarez is more of an Average Joe with a south of the border flair. Someone should jump on that. It’s just a harder case to build for a rookie with a rather short resume. The thing that would suck is if he lost his ride over it. It seems to me that if Subway were all hurt over handing out a few donuts to fans, they would have fired off a missive, warned him to remember who butters his bread, and let it go at that. Otherwise, it seems kind of capricious.

Unfortunately, that’s just the way things work. Maybe its time for Dunkin’ Donuts to work itself a little deeper into the NASCAR game. Lord knows they’ve got plenty of publicity over this flap, and you know what they say about publicity.