NASCAR needs grand plan to soothe unhappy sponsors
To see NAPA leaving Michael Waltrip Racing and 5-Hour Energy publicly questioning its commitment to NASCAR is an unfortunate development for the sport.
It doesn’t mean NASCAR has to change the way it does business, but it might be a sign that it needs to have a sponsor-relations reaction plan when it knows sanctions could have long-reaching effects.
NASCAR needs to penalize teams for infractions. Frankly, NASCAR could have issued even more severe penalties than it did for MWR’s actions earlier this month at Richmond. The team made its bed. The team has to sleep in it.
It certainly wasn’t NASCAR’s goal to have MWR lose sponsors. The penalty of knocking a driver out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup is severe, and it appears that is at least part of the reason sponsor NAPA walked.
NAPA isn’t the only one mad. The president of 5-Hour Energy, upset with NASCAR chairman Brian France, questioned NASCAR’s integrity:
“There's been a lot of talk about integrity,” said company CEO Scott Henderson. “When the guy who is in charge can say, 'I can do whatever I want, I'm going to do it and I just did it,' I wonder about integrity. I've got to make sure we can win in this sport."
That is in reference to France’s line from his news conference announcing Jeff Gordon was going to be added to the Chase:
“I have the authority to do that. We are going to do that.”
France quickly followed that line with: “It is an unprecedented and extraordinary thing, but it's also an unprecedented and extraordinary set of circumstances that unfolded in multiple different ways, … and we believe this was the right outcome to protect the integrity (of the sport).” Sporting News