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Coming Out of the Closet….as a NASCAR Fan

On February 18, 2007, in Blego, Formula 1, NASCAR, by Josh Hallett
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I’ve been a minor fan of NASCAR for a few years but I for some reason I am really looking forward to this season. Why? I think it’s a combination of things that appeal to my blogger mentality. What’s a blogger mentality? For me it’s an appreciation for disruptive technologies or people. In the case of NASCAR it’s three things: Juan Pablo Montoya, Toyota and Red Bull.
1. Juan Pablo Montoya: I’ve been a fan of JPM since his F1 days with Williams and McLaren. Is he a bit hot-headed? Yes. Could his departure from Ron & Co. been done better? Yes. Never-the-less, he’s in NASCAR now and I hope he does very well. The spotlight sure is on him though. This week I saw feature articles in Sports Illustrated and few other publications plus a cover story in USAToday on Friday.
Of course NASCAR loves the fact that JPM will pull in an entirely new fan base. I remember the first US Grand Prix that JPM raced in, the Columbian’s were everywhere. I think the tri-color Red, Blue and Yellow of the Columbian flag almost out-did the Ferrari tifosi red. How will the ‘traditional’ NASCAR fan base react to swarms of Spanish-speaking Columbian fans? We’ll see. In addition to the Hispanic fans, JPM will also attract some F1 fans, like me. For the first time in my life I now own a piece of NASCAR merchandise, a Montoya t-shirt.

Montoya!

2. Toyota: In case you haven’t heard (ha) this will be the first year that a foreign car company will race in the Nextel Cup. All politics and nationalism aside this should be very interesting. Toyota, like Honda, don’t take racing lightly. From a factory support standpoint they will outspend everybody else to win. They haven’t had too much success in their F1 crusade, but I think NASCAR is different. I predict Toyota will get a win this year.
From a spending standpoint, Toyota and Red Bull do bring a bunch of cash to the table to hire the best talent. Whether that will translate into wins remains to be seen, however it has made a lot of other crews happy. The other teams need to up the pay of their top talent to keep them from going elsewhere. That’s good for the ‘employees’ but not so good for the ‘owners’.
3. Red Bull: I mentioned Red Bull and their money with Toyota above. Like Toyota, Red Bull brings a singular focus to racing. They also do things a bit differently than other sponsors, they own their teams. In the traditional role an independent team owner runs a series of cars and then solicits sponsors. Sponsors can change and you always have to be chasing new ones. With Red Bull they are the owner and sponsor. They control all aspects of the team.
In F1 you have independent teams, factory teams and Red Bull teams. That dynamic creates an interesting haves vs have-nots. Will Red Bull’s entry into NASCAR start a change in the team make-up? Will we ever see a factory team?
Team Red Bull Toyota

Red Bull is also primarily a European brand, if I am correct it’s the first major European NASCAR sponsor???
Add all these things up and we’re sure to have an interesting season. Oh yeah, Formula 1 starts in four weeks.

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3 Responses to Coming Out of the Closet….as a NASCAR Fan

  1. Jeff says:

    Welcome in from the closet. Glad to have you with us.

  2. Hayley says:

    Hey Josh! This is amazing that you are coming out of the closet as a NASCAR fan! Robert can for sure tell you that I am one of the biggest NASCAR fans (I talk about NASCAR constantly during class.) I was ecstatic when I read your blog. Currently, I am pursuing a public relations job/internship within NASCAR. Many people think I am crazy for being an undying NASCAR fan and for wanting to pursue a career with this industry. Ever since I was a child, I have had the biggest passion for NASCAR and have always wanted the public to see the best of what it offers. All of the things that you listed above are definitely fresh and exciting things that are occurring in NASCAR this year. These are several other benefits about the racing industry that so many people fail to see and overlook – this is actually the reason why I want to work for NASCAR in the pr aspect. NASCAR encompasses so much more than just racing or a sport; it is an industry that is not slowing down at making its mark. NASCAR is the fastest growing sport, the #1 spectator sport- holding 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the U.S., and has more Fortune 500 companies participate than any other sport.
    In my opinion, NASCAR has defined itself as a truly successful industry and sport. The achievements of NASCAR I listed above are only a few of the qualities that make NASCAR what it is today and so many people in the world are blind and ignorant of these qualities.
    All of your points are interesting new things popping up in NASCAR. Red Bull’s appearance and work in NASCAR will without a doubt change up the way sponsors and teams are done in the future. I feel that Red Bull will be successful in their team/sponsor plan and will be a model of how to improve the sponsorship plan in racing.
    I look forward to hearing more from you about NASCAR and the racing season this year. Hope you have a great day!

  3. Jake says:

    Did you see who is sponsoring Milka Duno in the Rolex 24 hour race at daytona?
    http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/080122/0350925.html

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