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NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing and the WWE-World Wrestling Entertainment. Now here's an interesting marketing partnership that we thought we'd never see. But it seems to be working very well. Gibbs Racing will be promoting the WWE on their two NASCAR Nationwide Series cars for the upcoming November 7th race at the Texas Motor Speedway. Logano's #20 Toyota will carry the Game Stop/WWE "Raw" Versus "Smackdown" logos. That's the name of the new wrestling video game patterned after the WWE's two popular weekly television programs. Busch's #18 Toyota will carry the Z Line Design/Raw brand on the car's hood.

With all of the marketing going on, the WWE thought it would be a great idea to have Busch and Logano as their celebrity managers last Monday night on its "Raw" program. The event was held in Buffalo-New York and aired live by the USA Network.

The NASCAR drivers made a very spectacular entrance. The show opened with the typical two WWE super stars standing in the middle of the ring arguing with each other and getting very close to swinging fists. Then, all of a sudden, the camera shot switched to the arena parking lot where Busch and Logano were in their Nationwide Series cars doing some victory style burn outs. They next drove the cars into the arena and parked them ringside. They, along with two very beautiful ladies, climbed out of the cars and into the ring. Busch yelled "ladies and gentlemen that's how you make an entrance."

In the world of the WWE there are basically two types of wrestlers: good guys and heels. "Rowdy" Busch made quick work of transitioning himself in the role of a heel. Remembering that he was in Buffalo, Busch attacked the city's NFL football team saying "Buffalo hasn't made the playoffs since Hulkamania. You brought in T-O, (wide receiver Terell Owens), that doesn't seem to be working for you. Next thing you know he'll be sining "Oh Canada." The remarks brought a loud chorus of boos from the WWE fans. Then again, that's the exact response any self respecting heel graves.

This was in direct contrast to Logano who played the always smiling good guy whom the fans appreciated. Again more NASCAR type casting.

Yet another interesting aspect of Monday night's "Raw" program involved wrestling super star Randy Orton, the personification of heel, and a Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series Toyota. The hood of this car was wrapped with a beautiful likeness of Orton. According to the story line the car was a gift for Orton from his wrestling partners known as The Legacy.

Despite being enthralled by seeing his likeness on the hood of a NASCAR race car, Orton was in a very bad mood. The night before, during a WWE pay per view broadcast, he lost his championship belt to arch rival John Cena. He felt that good guy wrestler Kofy Kingston interfered with the match that ultimately cost him his championship title. Later in the evening Orton found Kingston and beat the hell out of him.

I think you already know what happened next.

In an act of angry retaliation, Kingston keyed the paint job of Orton's new race car. Then he said there was a bug crawling across Orton's face on the car's hood. The good news is Kingston killed the bug. The bad news is he used a crowbar to get the job done. Then, feeling the damage needed a little touch up, Kingston dumped a five gallon bucket of red paint across the car's hood.

Apparently, when it comes to entertaining their fans, the WWE spares no expense.

As contrived, and even silly, as all of this sounds it actually worked very well. Busch and Logano did a good job in their roles as "Raw" celebrity hosts. It was also apparent they were having a good time with their new wrestling buddies.

When you consider the huge fan base of both NASCAR and the WWE additional co branding of the two organizations in the future could turn out to be very lucrative for each of them.

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