The cola wars have surfaced in NASCAR
It’s not the first time the Monster Energy logos have been excluded from Hendrick cars, when allowed
Mtn Dew has sponsored many NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Notably mentions include Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kasey Kahne, Darrell Waltrip and several more. Many of those drivers have gone to victory lane.
However, they haven’t parked it with Mtn Dew on the hood. Sunday’s win by Chase Elliott marked the first Mtn Dew win since Darrell Waltrip in 1982.*
In 2017, Monster Energy signed on as the primary sponsor for the NASCAR Cup Series. They are now in the second year of the new deal. It will be extended in 2019.
Since the beginning, Monster Energy has welcomed any and all sponsors into the series. For example, Mtn Dew and other beverage companies are welcomed to sponsor race cars. Monster has stated multiple times they welcome competitors if they have interest in supporting a team.
Note: By 2020, the entire entitlement sponsor program is expected to be phased out.
That welcomeness of all sponsorship supporters is a very different tone from sponsors of years past.
When Sprint/Nextel signed as the entitlement sponsor of the series in 2004, several teams lost their sponsorship. AT&T, Verizon and other telecommunication companies were phased out.
Cingular and Alltel were grandfathered in as NASCAR switched from Winston. However, in 2007, those companies went through a re-branding phase as AT&T purchased BellSouth. As a result, the grandfathered clause was revoked. The companies could not upgrade the logos on the car to support the buyout.
This resulted in a lawsuit filed by AT&T against NASCAR. The sanction reacted by filing a $100 million countersuit. U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob ruled that the logos could be changed from Cingular Wireless to AT&T.
But, the federal appeals court lifted that ruling.
It got ugly from there. In 2007, AT&T stated that several paint schemes from years past were submitted and denied by NASCAR. They then showed up to the race track with a blank car.
NASCAR rebutted all of those claims. They stated that a paint scheme featuring the Cingular logos was approved and that is was the choice of AT&T to show up to the track with a blank RCR machine.
“When AT&T merged with Cingular, they knew what the rules were,” NASCAR spokeman Ramsey Poston said in 2007.
“They knew they could not re-brand that to AT&T. In the same way I very much doubt AT&T is going to invite Sprint/Nextel or any other competitor into their exclusive deal for the iPhone, or invite Sprint/Nextel or any other competitor to advertise at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. They understand exclusivity.”
In the end, those companies basically disappeared from the sport.
Cola Wars in NASCAR
None of this has been going on from the Monster Energy side of NASCAR’s newest entitlement sponsor. To the point of welcoming other beverage companies. And after they made that comment, I actually went out and bought a Monster drink.
(I still don’t like it. But, I gave it another try.)
When Chase Elliott arrives at the race track in the Sun Energy or NAPA Auto Parts machines, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series sticker is shown on both the left and right side doors of the car. As you can see from the photo of the right side in the photo below.
Coca-Cola owns a 17% portion of the Monster Beverage company. The cola wars very much exist and they have reached the NASCAR level.
Last weekend, Chase Elliott took the Mtn Dew (Pepsi owned) ride to victory lane. It was his second win in the last three races and his third of the year. Elliott will now head to the Round of 8 in the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs.
But, Chase Elliott was missing one of the Monster Energy logos. The right side of the car, lacks the Monster Energy sticker. Meanwhile, on the left side of the car the Monster Energy logos remain.
Hendrick Motorsports and Pepsi have found a loophole in the rule book. Probably, less of a loophole and more of a mistake.
The rule book states that the Monster Energy logos must be shown on both sides of the car. The rule book also states that the Monster Energy logo must be present on the left side.
In other words, the rule book says the entitlement logo must be placed on the left side (right side excluded). Then, later says it must be on both sides.
The rule book isn’t clear on the display of the sticker. Pepsi has taken note of this and reacted accordingly with a wink.
Chase Elliott was the only car in the field missing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series logo on the right side door at Kansas Speedway.
This is not the first time something similar has taken place. In 2017 and 2018, all Hendrick eight paint schemes were released without the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stickers.
In regards to the paint scheme release, the door stickers were absent. In addition, the Monster Energy logos were also absent from the window sticker. The window placement logos were replaced by Chevy logos.
That’s not just the case for Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr (Mtn Dew drivers). That has been the case for all four Hendrick Motorsports paint scheme reveals in both 2017 and 2018.
I just think it’s interesting to point that out. Kansas was far from the first time that Hendrick has excluded a Monster logo when the rule book allows it.
To be clear, Hendrick Motorsports did nothing wrong. It’s petty as hell but I don’t blame them. They’re just using every word of the rule book to their advantage. The advantage being the lack of a Monster Energy promotion on their Pepsi supported race cars.
*As pointed out by NASCAR reddit user Dubya86.