NASCAR: How Bad Have You Got It?

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer IOctober 25, 2008

Without even knowing it, we fans are exactly like the race-car drivers that we idolize.

We dress like them, act like them, talk like them, and even love to drive like them. We are fans, no, we are Americans, living in a NASCAR world.

"Conceivably, from RVs to underwear to toothbrushes to video games, one could actually live in a strictly NASCAR-licensed world," says NASCAR business communications director Andrew Giangola.

Yes, it's NASCAR's world and we're all just living in it. Makes you wonder how the economy can be affecting NASCAR when every product on store shelves has a NASCAR tie.

Walk around your home and take inventory. Do you enjoy eating McDonalds, Cheez-It, M&M's, Cheerios, Bugles, or Big Red gum? Well Elliott Sadler, Casey Mears, Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, and Juan Pablo Montoya appreciate your patronage.

These are just some of the many sponsors that adore 43 race cars, week after week. You could dress yourself (Wrangler), feed yourself (Hamburger Helper), clean yourself (Old Spice), and enjoy yourself (Jack Daniels) with the products that pay millions to have their names plastered on the hood of a beautifully painted car.

Do Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Mountain Dew, Budweiser, or Gatorade have a soft spot in your heart?

If you're not a NASCAR fan, and you're looking to buy a product that has nothing to do with America's fastest sport, then you're going to be living in a very bare house.

However, that's if you're not a NASCAR fan. If you are, then you probably embrace knowing every sponsor your driver is associated with. Then you go out and only buy those products as to not support a rival company.

Is your insurance company or cell phone provider influenced by the driver that you support? Or maybe you just wanted to be in Ryan Newman's circle?

What about your shipping needs? Did Denny Hamlin frustrate you, and now this week you're going to use UPS?

Or are you just frustrated with Hendrick Motorsports and now you won't even look at Quaker State because Valvoline is getting a promotion in your mind?

Sponsors don't just play a part in the drivers' lives, they play a part in the fans' lives, too. It's almost taboo for you to root for Jeff Gordon but drive a Ford. It's an oxymoron to put on a pair of Wrangler Jeans and Puma sneakers.

As NASCAR fans, we live our lives by the products we are familiar with and have no problem advertising them to friends and family. We've acquired the talent to "talk up" a certain brand over another or convince someone to go to a certain tool store over the other.

The only down side is that we're doing it out of the kindness of our hearts and the drivers receive a kind paycheck.

There's camera products (Kodak), banks (Bank of America), watches, fuel, and lawn/garden equipment. Anything and everything that can be sold will be advertised on a race car and then eaten up by the fans.

Sponsors may be the official partners of NASCAR, but NASCAR is the official partner of life.