NASCAR is a business, first and foremost. The sport depends on big corporations and the fans for it to survive and thrive. The fans are heard through multiple platforms from the radio to the Internet.
Not often in NASCAR does a sponsor take advantage of those platforms that was until Friday. After the incident at Atlanta Motor Speedway between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski everyone has had their opinions, except for the sponsor.
I understand that in most cases the sponsor says nothing, but what we saw Sunday was not something we see every week. Edwards move was calculated and intentional and he offered no apology for his intentions.
That being said, the sponsor has every right in any case to defend their image.
On Friday, Edwards sponsor Scotts Lawn Care released a statement.
“Scotts appreciates the support of NASCAR fans everywhere, and we have an excellent relationship with Carl Edwards, Jack Roush and the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing team.
However, like many fans, we were very concerned about the on-track incident that occurred in Atlanta this past weekend. As a result, we have strongly expressed these concerns to both Carl and Jack, and we are confident that they have a clear understanding of the trust we have placed in them as ambassadors of our company, our associates and our brands.
In addition, as a sponsor, we want to make sure that drivers, race teams and NASCAR focus on keeping these types of incidents and misjudgments from happening.”
Sponsors in NASCAR pay millions of dollars to have their names on the cars. They are as invested in these races teams as the owners are. Every one of the drivers represents their company.
The good, the great, the bad and the ugly it is the drivers responsibility to represent the sponsor. We all have seen the numbers; success on Sunday drives sales on Monday. There is a lot on the line for everyone of these sponsors.
Edwards is a sponsors dream, he perfectly places his sponsor pitches. Whether it is before the race or after the race, Edwards is one of the best at making sure his sponsors get air time.
With all the negative attention that last Sunday’s wreck has been getting, Scotts did the right thing on Friday. They have every right to say what they said because Edwards represents their company.
It was a smart move for them to wait for NASCAR and their decision. Then on Friday, release the statement and send the message that behavior like that will be unacceptable if you are going to represent this company.
It’s their money on that car and for all the good publicity they have, they can get just as much bad publicity.
We do not know what has been said behind closed doors with both Edwards and Keselowski and their respective teams and sponsors.
We do know that Scotts stands with Edwards as a sponsor, they don't stand behind his actions at Atlanta Motor Speedway or similar actions moving forward.
Many people questioned whether NASCAR would put a stop to them retaliating or would the owners?
The moment the sponsor came out and stopped short of a public tongue lashing, I think all but ended it.