Jimmie Johnson is NASCAR’s greatest active legend– a 7-time series champion. His career sponsor Lowe’s is canceling its iconic affiliation with the #48 car after this season. What is not discussed is the unthinkable, which is Jimmie Johnson being forced into retirement, much like Danica Patrick, due to lack of sponsorship in NASCAR.
Note that Jimmie Johnson can’t even begin to court new sponsors until the season is over, because he has to fulfill his obligations to Lowe’s. All while he is running with Chevrolet, who are clearly inferior to Ford & Toyota in 2018. Jimmie Johnson mentioned this manufacturing disadvantage last fall, so it’s no surprise to those who follow.
His drop-off in performance isn’t because he suddenly stinks, as Jimmie Johnson is a serious athlete who keeps himself in top condition; biking, running, skiing, etc. He has managed to dominate his sport because he out-works and out-thinks everyone else. Plus he’s a great driver, who respects his competition.
When NASCAR is diddling around with Goldman Sachs trying to figure out if it should sell out, this creates instability in the market. This makes it HARDER for Jimmie Johnson (and everyone else) to find sponsorship. It’s pretty simple, when the bosses are completely selfish & blind, then there’s nothing you can do.
Jimmie Johnson is taking most of this with professional ease, as he’s been through the wars. He knows which battles you can’t win, and when to move on. This may be the end for Jimmie Johnson, yet no one wants to say this is the end. Brian France immediately denied they were exploring a sale of NASCAR, by sending a memo to all employees. Fans wondered if Goldman Sach’s got a memo?
Most NASCAR faithful want Brian France & family out, so the question becomes: what is NASCAR worth? A lot of what NASCAR is worth depends on who you ask. I don’t see a whole lot of assets (beyond the TV deal), so France may refuse if he feels the price is too low. On the other hand he may just want to dump this expensive mess, because eventually (2024) the TV money will dry up, with only a fraction of that will replace it. That’s the gun being held to Brian France’s head by corporate America.
Corporate may be offering 2 cents on the dollar, which of course is an insult France must refuse. The problem is: all the leverage is with corporate, and they are going to be nasty about going to even two-and-a-half cents…
Another problem for France & family is their “Danica gap.” Danica Patrick is an icon who brought tens-of-millions of kids into NASCAR, something no other driver could possibly do. What those kids saw (over & over) was her being sabotaged by her own team, and wrecked by her competition– all sanctioned by NASCAR. It was a big joke to those haters and could never control their hard-ons.
The ‘Danica gap” immediately revealed itself when she left the sport (which showed her no love), and all her fans went with her. That’s what happened after Daytona, three months ago. All her fans care about now is her final run at the Indianapolis 500, while NASCAR is begging for a respectable buyout offer. The sponsors & corporate America see Brian France as a sitting duck, waist-deep in his own excrement and rising…
NASCAR is holding their annual All Star race this fortnight in Charlotte, NC which has been their real headquarters for awhile now. Matt Kenseth, who just came out of retirement last week [!] is in the race. That’s NASCAR for you.
The qualifying race has no interest because Danica Patrick isn’t in it this year. She always should have been in the main event on fan voting, as she had more fan popularity than the entire field combined, but that ballot was always rigged. For instance, last year (2017) Chase Elliott was given the nod on the fan vote, immediately after he failed to win a stage in the qualifier. Just another example of how NASCAR shot itself in the foot.
The confluence of all these disasters & maneuverings leads to the question of questions for all you racing guys. Which would you rather have: NASCAR or Danica Patrick?
On rain-out policy & taking care of the fans:
Many long-time NASCAR fans have exclaimed the need for this sport to scale back, and regionalize itself again in the Southeast. They are correct. This would reduce travel expenses and allow NASCAR to reconnect with its roots. If NASCAR held 3-4 races per season at 6-8 regional tracks, then rain-outs could easily be accommodated.
Running a race on Monday when everyone has left to get back to reality, dismisses the investment fans make to attend a race. A washout ticket should get you free entry to the next race held at that track. THAT would get race fans excited, while protecting their investment in a ticket & advanced travel expenses. This should roll over to the next season if the final race at that site is a rain-out, or apply to any other regional track if that is more convenient for the fan.
NASCAR has to get real and start taking care of its fans, or else it’s going to be lights out. I don’t believe the sponsors & networks are willing to cooperate or be reasonable. Instead they want full control. Brian France & family are apparently too greedy & ignorant to care. This power struggle is tearing NASCAR apart, which sucks for the fans.
On NASCAR backroom politics:
What’s going on here is a behind-the-scenes power struggle. On one side is NASCAR, with all it’s good ‘ol boys on the family payroll. On the other side is (Yankee) corporate, represented by NBC, Fox, and all the sponsors, who demand accountability & profits. Who is going to manage & control this sport? Brian France & his entire NASCAR organization is being called into question by big money. This will be a fight to the death.
The issue that isn’t being brought up is organizing driver representation. If there is to be any progress, then drivers & pit crew grievances & issues must be brought to the bargaining table in an organized & unified manner– with full fan support. Fans want to support their drivers & teammates, but certain “stars” (who really ain’t shit) need to come back to Earth and join their underpaid brethren competitors, otherwise there will be no future for NASCAR.
This is the scorecard fans hold up when it is announced that the France family is exploring the sale of NASCAR. Selling depends on value, and all sides must agree. otherwise it’s an impasse. The sides that are never consulted are the fans & drivers.
The chatter from corporate on an impeding takeover is their salivation over obtaining “360 deals” with the drivers. For those not understanding this meaning, 360-deals are an entertainment industry contract term, which gives corporate all rights over every aspect of the star’s life.
Any private ventures, book deals, etc., fall under corporate ownership & control. They are called “360-deals,” because like 360 degrees in a circle, they encompass every aspect of your life. Corporate makes lots of money off that, while sucking the performer dry. This is corporate America’s vision for NASCAR’s future, complete enslavement of the drivers to maximize their profits. That’s capitalism, baby!
On BK Racing’s bankruptcy hearings:
This could be an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. Ron Devine (Boss Hogg) shedding crocodile years for his team which he has repeatedly ripped off. Subplot: Can Gray Gaulding (Coy/Vance) keep his professional racing dreams alive, while Daisy is off running the Indy 500? Tune in next week!
For people new to NASCAR, here’s a cheat sheet. The modern era of this sport began after Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona Super-speedway on February 18, 2001. The greatest champion of the old timers was Richard Petty, who doesn’t even own his team anymore. Of the current era (which is now coming to close); Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart & Jimmie Johnson are it’s greatest champions. Dale Earnhardt, Jr & Danica Patrick have been it’s greatest ambassadors. One was adored & endlessly glorified, while the other was hated, wrecked & dumped upon.
On PED’s in NASCAR:
Adderall is in the amphetamine class of drugs, a central nervous system stimulant. Adderall is medically prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall has been banned in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NCAA. In a podcast interview last fall, Denny Hamlin estimated ~70% of NASCAR drivers use Adderall.
On Sunday, April 29, 2018 the winner was Joey Logano. There was no “Big One” this year at spring Talladega, (photo above is 2017). This was NASCAR’s first “post-Danica” restrictor plate race. Without her on the track, there’s no reason for these rednecks to wreck each other.
NASCAR update 5-20-17:
Rob Kauffman says RTA’s new executive hired to help owners align Bob Pockrass ESPN.com
This is the latest development in the sale of NASCAR. The team owners feel the need for legal representation, if there is indeed going to be a sell-out to corporate by Brian France & family. Rob Kauffman loves the charter system, so owner & NASCAR interests are covered.
What’s missing is legal representation for the drivers & crew. As we’ve seen in the BK Racing bankruptcy court transcripts, owners don’t always pay the help, so they better organize their own leadership which bargains collectively. Otherwise the drivers & crew members will get eaten up. That’s the economic game behind-the-scenes, and the drivers are asleep-at-the-wheel on it.