The Herald-Dispatch |


At the Track
We'll note happenings at the national and local levels of racing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On FB, NASCAR and economics

Ya gotta love Facebook. About 5 p.m., I got a post from Roush-Fenway announcing Matt Kenseth has a new sponsor for next year.

No big surprise here, folks. With DeWalt declining to re-up with Roush-Fenway, Matt Kenseth needed a sponsor, and oh, my! Crown Royal stepped in to fill the void on da’ hood.

Like ya didn’t see it coming? The hard liquor company will sponsor 18 of Kenseth’s Cup races next year.

Matt said he likes being able to promote drinking responsibly. That’s been the message with Jamie McMurry while driving under the purple and gold hood, too. Well, duh. If you’re gonna drink, be responsible and don’t get yourself or someone else hurt or killed. Ya think? OK, I’ll get off the soap box. But I’ve had decent backpacks ruined by guys at the track drinking in the row behind me and knocking over (not back) a few brewskis. I'm not bitter. It was a brown, suede backpack with leather trim. But I'm not bitter.

“We will miss Jamie (McMurray) as he has been an amazing partner both on and off the track taking our ‘Be a champion. Drink Responsibly,’ campaign to new heights. We were lucky to have him as part of our team and whatever sponsor aligns with him will have a great person working on their behalf. We wish him well,” said Dan Sanborn, Sr. Director, Corporate Relations for Diageo, Crown Royal’s parent company.

And fans may miss McMurray, too. Roush-Fenway president Geoff Smith said the 4-car team will be Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan. The team is hoping to find a sponsor and transfer Jamie Mac’s and his ride to Yates Racing.

At’d be nice. Keep more Blue Oval presence on the track and the crews employed, especially after last year’s mega downsizing in the Charlotte area shops.

Now, personally, I like Jamie Mac. I have a life-size standup of him from a Coke Zero campaign. It’s scares friends of mine when they walk through the front doors of my house the first time. Yep, they’ve let out a screech or two. Heck, so have I on occasion. But we digress.

You hate to see any of these guys lose their ride, because you know that means job loss to not just the one, but dozens of people on the pit crew, hauler drivers, shop crew and support personnel in the immediate. Then there's the trickle down effect to service providers in the community. For every $1 spent in salary the multiplier is that it generates at least $7 more in the community.

So you guys at Roush-Fenway, listen here. Find the boy a sponsor and keep the money flowing through your community. No pressure, but a lot of lives are looking toward you right now.

So how much economic pressure is there on NASCAR right now? If you look in the stands, there are empty seats. But in a venue that will seat 200,000 people, and only 150,000 show up, what's that mean. How many basketball, football or baseball places will hold 200,000? Or, for that matter, 150,000? So really, 150,000 people putting down cash money for a 4- or 5-hour event isn't really so bad after all, is it?

It's a crunch we're all feeling. I've been to the All-Star, 600 and going to Bristol next month. But I'm probably not making the Bank of America race in Charlotte in October. A financial move, actually. I've had good deals to go to all the others through the NASCAR Members Club, group trips and the like. But the last one of the year is on my own. So, it may be a trip I don't take.

But there's local racing in a few spots, so the need for live racing gets filled. The local economy gets some stimulus and everyone leaves happy for the evening. Well, except for the guys who don't place first in the race. You know. Second place is just the first loser.