Missing: Race Teams And Sponsors!
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and of course, that always includes a cordial greeting to our NASCAR-assigned reader on this cloudy, soggy autumn day. I’d wish you better weather, but I just spoke with a friend in Charlotte that assures me it’s soggy over there as well.
So then… it’s two races down and thousands upon thousands not caring, when it comes to Brian France’s contrived version of what was known at one time as stock car racing. The NFL season is in full swing, and to be Champion there, a team has to earn it… by playing all 16 weeks of the regular season, and then giving lessons to several other teams on the exact definition of the word “Elimination!”
Please accept my apology, but your scribe has grown weary of defining words such as “Champion” or “Elimination.” Someone did spark my interest in the past week though, when mentioning the sponsors and race teams that have gone away in recent years, and upon further investigation, I found it has indeed been several years since we’ve updated ourselves on those subjects.
The first thing I must warn you is that these are merely random lists, compiled from random years and using each year’s Daytona 500 as the example, as that is the race that historically gets the most entries.. No claim is made as to correctness, let alone perfection. Some of these sponsors may have backed down to a much less-involved status, and some might have been lured away by NASCAR, a practice which I have always referred to by the simple phrase, “Some species eat their young.” In what other pseudo-sport does one find the sanctioning body competing openly with its own teams for sponsorship? The whole point is, these names used to decorate the hoods of race cars. They were all “Primary” sponsors, not Associates, and each appeared as sponsor of a viable and competitive car. I didn’t even bother with the weekly pittances from the Start ‘n Park class. These were found between 2000 and 2014. Does anyone miss any of them? I know many teams do!
Rubbermaid – Sharpie – Pfizer – Cingular - Dodge Power Days - Miccosukee Resort & Casino – UPS – Citgo – DuPont - Georgia Pacific - Net Zero – Motorcraft - Stacker 2- Grainger – Tide - UAW-Delphi - Jasper Engines & Transmissions - U.S. Army - Monaco Coaches – Kodak - America Online – AT&T –
Maxwell House - Sirius Satellite Radio - Alltel - Whelen Engineering - Georgia Pacific/Brawny – GMAC - Schwan's Home Service - Irwin Industrial Tools - Office Depot - Jack Daniels - Best Buy - Net Zero - Lucas Oil - Little Debbie – AAA - Jim Beam - Crown Royal - Wells Fargo Financial – CarQuest – Ameriquest - Snickers -Domino's – Citgo –Kmart - RealTree Camouflage - Square-D – Kodiak - Oakwood Homes - Hills Brothers Coffee - Quality Care/Ford Credit - Exide Batteries – Conseco – Sonic - Cummins - Bell South - John Deere - Hot Wheels – Amoco Philips/Klaussner - Cartoon Network - Primestar/TV Guide - Remington Arms Camouflage - Jimmy Dean Sausage – Aflac - Red Bull - Old Spice - Kingsford Charcoal
And some departures at the end of this year…
Aarons Announced they won't be returning in 2016. I believe them.
Go-Daddy - Are they totally gone? I’ve heard nothing as to whether they will maintain a token presence or just leave. Either way, it won’t matter much. Tokens are only good on buses and amusement rides.
5-Hour Energy - Will they stay with Bowyer? Apparently one rumor will be put to rest before this sees print. It is Tuesday morning as I type, and tomorrow the “secret” will be told at Stewart-Haas Racing that Tony will retire after 2016, and Clint Bowyer will occupy his seat in the #14 come 2017. Meanwhile, next year Clint Bowyer will cool his heels driving for H. Scott Motorsports. Will 5-Hour Energy be on that hood? Will it be on the #14 in 2017? Right now, I have no clue, but I’m sure the rumor mill is chock-full of answers…
As long as I was taking a leisurely stroll through my files looking for sponsors we don’t see around anymore, I also took a look at race teams we don’t see around either. It’s no secret that most of the competitive cars on the track today belong to those big boys that were first to be asked to join the RTA. Remember that… “Race Team Alliance?” Don’t forget it, and don’t assume that because you haven’t heard it mentioned in a while that it has quietly gone away.
The previous paragraph was written on Monday afternoon, and lo and behold, NASCAR is scheduled to meet with the boys from the RTA this very afternoon. (Lord, I sound like Jeannie C. Riley, but I think we’ll skip the mini-skirt. – Harper Valley PTA -) I don’t guess they’ll be talking about the weather, and scuttlebutt has it that the main topic will be some sort of franchising or revenue sharing, which is said to favor team owners in that almost anything would be a better investment than what they have now.
When a team… even one of great longevity and good reputation… leaves the NASCAR fold, for whatever reason, that team has nothing to claim but auction value of inventory, which generally amounts to about 10¢ on the dollar. Most thinking folks can see the fallacy of that arrangement, yet NASCAR has managed to get by with it for well over 60 years and holding. Well, they were holding, until Rob Kauffman became a “team owner.” Granted, he now owns a part of an entirely different team than when he started, but he’s still in the game, and as what might be called a professional investor, he wants his bets hedged and his returns given some sort of guarantee.
Yes Mr. France… that is the way it works in the real world. Remember who it was that warned you about consolidating the race teams into a small handful of very powerful, and need I say “Rich” owners? It was some little old lady in Georgia. Maybe… just maybe… you should have listened then.
Alright, we’re back on track and about to look at a list of teams and car #s that have gone away since the first year of the “Chase” thingy. If you see some repetitive cars on the list, that occurred over the time of the “mergers” as everyone scrambled to be one of those already seated when the music stopped.
2004 - 2015
Dale Earnhardt Inc. #8 #1 #15 Chevrolets
Bill Davis Racing #22 #23 Dodge
Nelson Bowers Racing #01 #14 Chevrolet
Yates Racing #28 #38 #88 Fords
Gene Haas Racing #0 #70 Chevrolet
Doug Bawel #77 Dodge
Petty Enterprises #45 #43 Dodge
Cal Wells Racing #32 Chevrolet
Jim Smith Racing #7 Dodge
Ray Evernham Dodge #9 #19
Phoenix Racing (James Finch) #09 #51 Dodge
A.J. Foyt Racing #14 Dodge
Morgan-McClure Racing #4 Chevrolet
Beth Ann Morgenthau (BAM) Racing #49 Dodge
Robby Gordon Racing #7 Chevrolet
Bobby Ginn Racing #01 #13 #14 Chevrolet
Gillette-Evernham Motorsports #9 #19 Dodge
Red Bull Racing #4 #82 #83 Toyota
Michael Waltrip Racing #55 #15 Toyota
Along with merely saying that a team is gone, we also need to consider how many teams and drivers were covered within one name. The largest single loss that I can put my finger on was the merger of DEI with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. At one time, that entailed at least 3 drivers from DEI and 3 more from Ganassi. Somehow that never worked out to anyone’s satisfaction; Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing (EGR) went back to being just Ganassi Racing, and through magic or sleight of hand, instead of 6 drivers, there were only 2. A couple of good young drivers found themselves on the outside looking in after the smoke cleared. Their names were Regan Smith and Reed Sorensen. They are but two I recall, but there were several others that suffered a like fate when “Merger” became the new buzz word in NASCAR.
One driver that was displaced not once but twice was Martin Truex Jr. He drove the #1 for DEI until the merger came. He wound up at Michael Waltrip Racing, driving the #56 NAPA sponsored Toyota. We all know without rehashing Richmond in 2013 what the outcome of that has been, and a million thanks to Bill Elliott for saving the NAPA sponsorship, which was decidedly ready to join our list above. Martin now drives the #78 Chevy soon to become Toyota for Furniture Row racing. Depending on who is counting, Martin now sits 9th in the Chase points or 7th in real points earned so far in 2015. Either way, that’s not too shabby!
Furniture Row announced only this week a new alliance for 2016 with manufacturer Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing. Ah, but then, there’s always that other shoe, and in this case, it’s already dropped. Furniture Row has signed a 1-year contract with Truex Jr., but can’t go beyond that at present due to lack of sponsorship. Gentle readers, there is something inherently wrong with a system that would allow that to happen. Martin Truex Jr. is, by anyone’s definition, a good racer, but my guess would be, because Barney Visser (Owner of Furniture Row Racing) isn’t a household name in many households other than his own, sponsors are loathe to invest, even with the alliance with JGR in place.
Your scribe has never been, nor will she ever be one of those heard to say such things as “He deserves a sponsor, and it’s not ‘fair’ that so-and-so has one and he doesn’t.” That one always puts fur on my teeth. No one ever said that life is fair, and most certainly no one ever said that NASCAR is fair. Ask Brad Keselowski. Still, one has to wonder why an obvious Championship contender cannot ink more than a one year contract because there is not sufficient sponsorship to carry him further. I do hope that is at least a small part of what Mr. Kauffman has in mind for today’s discussion. By the time you read this, I guess we’ll know what was discussed at the meeting… at least we’ll know as much as they want us to know.
Statement from Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer: "Earlier today NASCAR met with all Sprint Cup Series owners and presented framework concepts for future qualification to compete in NASCAR's top national series with an eye toward implementing a new model for the 2016 season.
Anyone with the ability to define what that statement might mean has my immediate and total admiration. One other thing came out on Tuesday, which I have no problem translating. The overnight ratings for New Hampshire joined the rest of the season in the toilet, bringing home a 1.7, which is 23% lower than the 2.2 in the preceding 2 years, shown on ESPN. It is tied with Richmond for second lowest, with the rain-destroyed Kansas race holding the winner at 1.5 on FS1.
Alright gentle readers; that should be enough to give you at least something to think about as the Chase chases on. It’s more than obvious that there have been changes in the sport of stock car racing since the onset of the new “regime.” No one needs my opinions here. Read the lists, and you can see who’s gone. I do however, have one more list, which I’ve let racing-reference.info prepare for me. This is the standings (Chase version) of the 2015 season as of today.
Just scroll through the lower end of those standings and compare what we have lost with what we have today as replacements. Did we win or lose? You be the judge.
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout, and today we’ll be sharing a few numbers done by the late, great Hank Williams in his alter ego, Luke the Drifter. Though most are sad, all bring a message, and Hank was probably at his best when delivering messages. First up is one called, “Be Careful of Stones that You Throw.” Please enjoy.
The next one is “Help Me Understand”, and I found an almost impossible treasure… a demo of this song cut by Hank with no accompaniment but his own guitar. The message is clear, and one a whole lot more folks should pay attention to these days. Here then, is Hank as you will seldom if ever hear him again. (Precious)
This song is truly a tale of heartbreak, done Hank Williams style. It’s not one story, but a small collection of vignettes, which Hank called “A Picture from Life’s Other Side.”
Finally today, here’s Hank doing a song from Luke the Drifter that isn’t sad at all, but rather, just a picture of life as it drones on. It’s one I’ve loved since childhood, and I do hope you enjoy it as well. Here then is, “Just Waitin’.”