Sponsorship conflicts in the pit area of the Eldora Dirt Derby
Mike Marlar rolled into Eldora Speedway on Wednesday. The dirt late model star is set to compete in his first ever NASCAR Truck Series event.
The Eldora Dirt Derby is a 150-lap race that will take place tonight. It’s hosted on the half-mile dirt track located in Rossburg, Ohio.
Yesterday’s practice sessions doubled as a qualifying session. In the first session, Marlar was 13th of 30. Final practice placed him 15th.
The Reaume Brothers Racing #33 rolled into Eldora Speedway with a primary sponsor. Marathon Petroleum, the same company that sponsors Marlar’s dirt late model.
However, during practice yesterday, NASCAR instructed the team to remove the logos. Marlar returned to the track with an unlettered black race truck, Marathon logos absent.
This isn’t the first time this has happened in the history of the sport. The fact is, Sunoco is the “Official fuel of NASCAR”. The sanction has a full list of “official” labels. Those types of series sponsors are big support of our sport that come at a hefty price tag.
Official essentially means exclusive, Sunoco paid the extra money to become exclusive. Anytime there’s an ‘official’ something, NASCAR reserves the right not to let competing sponsors on the race track, under certain circumstances.
NASCAR has been taking a beating on social media since forcing the #33 NASCAR Truck Series team to remove the logos. In this case, NASCAR isn’t at fault. The team is at fault for not reading the rule book.
In most cases, paint schemes must be approved before showing up to the race track. If there was an issue, NASCAR would have told them before arriving at the race track, most likely.
It’s unclear how it got this far. Unless the Marathon deal came together after the original paint scheme was submitted.
Pepsi / Monster Energy
When Monster Energy took over as the entitlement sponsor of the series, other energy drink companies like Pepsi’s AMP, were grandfathered in. Those sponsorship agreements were already in place and NASCAR can’t just take them away. But, they could disallow any newcomers, say if Red Bull opted to join.
In that case, the Pepsi has regularly played games with Monster Energy. Such as removing Monster Energy logos any time they are allowed to.
Yet, Monster Energy isn’t like that anyway. When they first signed on, they went as far as welcoming support of race teams in the series. They’ve never attempted to pull funding from a race team due to a competing product.
NASCAR Sponsorship conflicts
Sprint/Nextel signed on as the primary sponsor of the NASCAR Cup Series in 2004. Cingular and Alltel were allready on the race track prior and were grandfathered in.
In 2007, AT&T purchased BellSouth and that changed some things. Cingular and Alltel were grandfathered in but no longer existed. AT&T was not grandfathered in.
AT&T filed a lawsuit against NASCAR. NASCAR returned with a $100 million counter suit. District Judge Marvin Shoob ruled that the logos could in fact be changed.
Until the federal appeals court overturned that ruling. That’s when Jeff Burton began showing up to the race track with blank race cars.
In the end, all those telecommunications companies basically disappeared from the sport.
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Mike Marlar | Reaume Brothers Racing | Marathon | Sunoco | NASCAR