Did Foyt steal Mayer’s sponsor?

Scott Mayer ran a rather expensive, yet poorly written ad in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that read more like an obituary than a thank you. He had flunked the rookie test at Indy earlier in the week. He had brought a rather sizeable sponsorship from the ABC Supply Company to the AJ Foyt team in return to run one of Foyt's cars in the 500. On Saturday Foyt announced a multi year deal with ABC backing to run his grandson and also to become a sponsor of the Milwaukee IRL event which had been named after Foyt. Isn't this just a little too cute? Did Foyt set up Mayer to steal his sponsorship? Is there more to this story than is being reported?

Rumors we hear in the industry are that the oval track cartel gives rebates to sponsors through the back door such that in some of its divisions a sponsor gets almost a free ride. While this rumor may have no merit, if true it accomplishes two things – 1) It makes it look like the cars are sponsored and the series is successful to lure in other sponsors, 2) It keeps potential sponsors away from competing series making it hard for them to land a paying sponsor when the competition is giving it away virtually free. Because the oval track cartel has huge amounts of money flowing in from other sources, the rebates are nothing more than a tax write-off until such time as the competition starves and dies off.

Just another conspiracy theory, though one that may have some merit. For example, how else do you justify all those sponsored cars in the Grand-Am Series with near-zero attendance and TV ratings? The economics just don't work unless the sponsorship is dirt cheap.

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