NASCAR is a very profitable auto racing business, but the company didn’t achieve its growth by just selling merchandise and tickets to races. NASCAR sponsors play a huge role in the development of the sport and really helped grow the motorsports world into what it has become today. In fact, NASCAR relies on sponsors more than any other sport in the world. Why? Because NASCAR fans are extremely brand loyal. The fanbase creates a multi-billion dollar industry each year just on the merchandising. If you can get your name associated with the brand, it could prove to be very beneficial for your company.
If you’re familiar with NASCAR’s sponsorship models, you know that it features such premier partners as Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, GEICO, and Xfinity. These are some successful companies, and they put up millions of dollars in order to have their names on the premier series races. However, there have been a number of ridiculous sponsors who have also tried their luck at getting in on the action with not as much success. Let’s look back on a few of them, and we’ll see if you remember any of the odd names from their brief foray into stock car racing.
10 Not-So-Great NASCAR Sponsors
NFL’s Adam Jones had a relationship with the wrestling federation, and they decided to bring the name to NASCAR. Kyle Petty, in his nWo sponsored car, managed to grab a fourth-place finish at Talladega in ’97.
WCW cars saw a win at the season-opening race at Daytona, as well. After these, the good finishes kind of tapered off.
Former NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth had some issues landing good sponsors back in 2011. He ended up with the clothing brand, which signed on for five races with their logo on the hood of Kenseth’s race car. Affliction is not exactly the type of clothing that the race car driver would wear, or a majority of the NASCAR fans either, to be honest. Kenseth didn’t manage to get any first-place finishes for the clothing brand, but he did get a second-place finish and three top-10s.
Derrike Cope, winner of the 1990 Daytona 500, is known for some uncommon sponsorships. He normally had some kind of music or rock festival sponsor on his No. 37 Ford race car. In 2002, he went with the unique poison paint scheme, which was a shock to say the least. Although he sported the sponsor for a while, he couldn’t manage to bring in a top position. The best he was able to get was a 34th place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Although a little out of place, the Cartoon Network sponsorship did manage to inspire some younger kids to get a little more interested in the sport. They were actually apart of the same network as WCW so they shared cars from time to time. The company didn’t see much luck in NASCAR, though, and eventually the sponsorship was retired.
Redneck Junk was a classified digital media ad service that sold the stereotypical “redneck” hobby choices. Although a little odd, it didn’t seem extremely out of place as the sponsor for the Derrike Cope’s No. 50 Dodge car. Cope was unable to make much happen during his time with Redneck Junk. He got a last-place finish and eventually Arnold Motorsports, the NASCAR team run by team owner Don Arnold, failed after a bad truck campaign.
Sephora is a big makeup retailer, and used this time in 2010 to promote Kim Kardashian’s fragrance lineup and a few other products. Mike Bliss, the 2002 Camping World Truck Series champion, drove the Sephora car, and he joked around about the sponsorship quite often. Unfortunately, he couldn’t gain much traction with the team. After wrecking out one race, Bliss left the team around four races later.
This company made adult diapers and, boy, did it seem out of place on a race car. They originally went after football sponsorships, but landed in NASCAR territory later on, as they sponsored Juan Montoya’s No. 42 Chevrolet. He surprisingly did pretty well, bringing in a fourth-place finish. Montoya, who raced for had actually raced some of his better races while he was sporting Depend. The sponsor, not the diaper.
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
Not all that shockingly, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste was a cream for diaper rashes. In the mid 2000s, former school principal Kim Crosby drove the Boudreaux’s-sponsored car. She had about 10 career starts and competed for six different racing teams, but on multiple occasions, was black flagged for being too slow. After an unsuccessful career, Crosby’s deal with Boudreaux’s was over, and she moved on to driving monster trucks instead.
The Loveable brassiere company sponsored Tammy Jo Kirk for 15 races in the NASCAR Truck Series. It was one of the rare times that a female driver and a female product were matched up together. Kirk managed to get a best finish of 11th during their tenure.
Mike Bliss was one of the drivers of the Viagra-sponsored car, but didn’t have much luck in it. Mark Martin, however, also drove a car with the Viagra logo on the hood. You know how Kyle Busch is known to have the M&M’s logo gracing his Toyota? Well, Martin, who racked up 40 NASCAR Cup Series race wins over the course of his career, became later became known for driving the Viagra car.
It wasn’t exactly a huge failure, at least from a…performance standpoint. The sponsorship lasted for about six years, and Viagra managed to grab three wins and a couple close finishes during its NASCAR tenure.
Types of NASCAR Sponsorships
Not sure about the difference between a title sponsor, primary sponsor, or associate sponsor? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
A title sponsor will likely pay the highest amount for their partnership. They get the rights to have their names become a part of the racing series. For example, instead of the NASCAR Cup Series, it would be the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series or the Xfinity Series, which is sponsored by the telephone service company. This creates a ton of exposure for the sponsor, either through a television broadcast or through social media.
This is what a company would go for if they’re looking to put their name on the side of a stock car. They can use the car for whatever type of advertising strategy they want, but it usually promotes their current and most recent products.
If you manage to be a primary sponsor in a championship race, and that car takes home the championship trophy, the rewards would be huge! Just think about it: Chase Elliott and NAPA Auto Parts. Bubba Wallace and McDonald’s. Jimmie Johnson and Lowe’s. Kevin Harvick and Budweiser. Kurt Busch and Sharpie. All matches that paid off big-time, for both the drivers and the sponsors.
You know all those smaller sponsor logos on the cars and the uniforms? Well, those are associate sponsors. They pay a much cheaper price to get involved, but in return, see a smaller placement of their brands on the cars and the NASCAR race tracks, whether it’s Las Vegas, Bristol, Darlington, or Talladega.
This post was originally published on April 30, 2020.