The Frontstretch: NASCAR Missing a Golden Marketing Opportunity by Jeff Meyer -- Friday May 18, 2012

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NASCAR Missing a Golden Marketing Opportunity

Voices from the Cheap Seats · Jeff Meyer · Friday May 18, 2012


Once you realize that the world has gone completely, stark-raving mad around you, it will save you an immense amount of stress, not to mention therapy bills, if you simply shrug your shoulders, say ‘what the hell’ and just go with it. In that light, I am going to present an idea here (or possibly spill the beans?) that could possibly make Brian France and family move up from being ‘insanely rich from the pockets of the little man’ to ‘I can buy my own little world if I want to’ rich.

Though the latest generation of NASCAR race car has gotten closer to its roots, the COT generation of race car has far more resembled a spec machine than one off a dealer lot.

Remember the old racing adage ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’? While many misguided marketers (as well as NASCAR) insist it is still true, I have, for many years now, strongly asserted that it simply isn’t true. NASCAR race cars have been so strictly regulated in the name of parity for so long that they bear no resemblance to their so-called street counterparts. Any team out there, at any given moment, could decide to switch ‘manufacturers’ and still make it for the next week’s race. The only difference between manufacturers is a few engine differences, and a new set of decals. NASCAR is so far removed from it’s actual name of ‘stock car’ that someone should sue them for false advertising.

Get ready for the next generation!

Chevy has announced that a new car will be gracing the tracks beginning with the next racing season. Behold the Chevrolet SS!

No, not a Camaro SS. Not an Impala SS. Not a Monte Carlo SS no, it’s simply billed as the Chevrolet SS.

While many of us older farts fell in love with a variety of SS models during the 60’s and 70’s, this new one is actually going to be an import from Australia! I find it very ironic actually and I want to ask this question…What have all the ‘imported Toyota’ haters got to say about this!?

Remember the hatred when NASCAR allowed Toyota to race their version of a ‘foreign’ car that is actually built here? Will there be an outcry now that a ‘US’ automaker is racing a version of a car built overseas? Personally I could care less. Put a different engine in it and a new set of decals on it and you can call it anything you want!

The marketing idea I spoke of however, was sparked by this bit of a quote from the Chevy press release from some executive that you’ve never heard of.

“I am delighted to say that Chevrolet will deliver a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR racecar in the SS that very closely links the performance sedan that will be available for sale.”

Here’s the idea…since the bodies of all NASCAR race cars are identical anyway, why doesn’t Brian France simply ‘brand’ his own car that could be manufactured by all of the current competitors in NASCAR? What I’m talking about here is a ‘street version’ of the unique ‘NASCAR’ Ford or a NASCAR Chevy, complete with spoiler, splitters, and ‘shark fins’! Something like the ‘Eddie Bauer’ edition Fords. (Just who WAS Eddie Bauer anyway?!)

The option packages are endless. You could get the number of your favorite driver on the door, all the cool decals, everything! No, I’m not talking about 800 horsepower engines in them. Knowing NASCAR, it would probably only come with a 4 cylinder engine in the name of ‘going green’. No, I’m simply suggesting the unique NASCAR body on a completely street legal vehicle.

If NASCAR were to do something like this, they could make the old adage work solely for them and rake in billions!

Gee, for a guy who is supposedly a ‘marketing genius’, I’m surprised Brian hasn’t thought of this before.

And now for something completely different…

Jimmie Spencer, aka ‘Mr. Excitement’ has announced that he intends to become ‘Mr. Ordinary’ and retire from his broadcasting duties. Jimmie plans to travel, take up gardening and other ordinary hobbies as he moves back to his native Pennsylvania.

I wish Jimmie all the best in his future endeavors, but I solemnly ask (and I think I can speak for millions here), before you go, could you please have another ‘chat’ with Kurt Busch!? We sure would appreciate it!

Speaking of Kurt Busch…

This week’s Top Ten list explored the possible reasons for Kurt’s actions on pit road this last week. Now, I don’t know if my editors thought I got a bit personal or what, but here’s the deal. One of the best reasons I listed, in my opinion, read…’One of the pins in his ears popped out causing his helmet to become stuck when he tried to take it off.’

I thought, apparently wrongly, this was pretty funny seeing as how Kurt actually said that his helmet got stuck as he tried to take it off, temporarily obstructing his vision. If you remember a few years back, Kurt actually had a cosmetic procedure done to reduce the width from ear tip to ear tip. In press releases at the time, it was referred to as ‘having his ears pinned back’ Perhaps I hit a little too close to home for some of the editorial staff, I don’t know. All I know is that I thought it was darn funny. There were lamer excuses on the list, yet that was the only one that got edited. Maybe I’ll bend their ears a little and find out why. I just wanted you all to know!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
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Keeping it REAL
05/18/2012 03:12 AM

I don’t feel it necessary to comment on the main topic with the “brilliant” marketing idea and all (although I do have many, many comments as to why and how that would never ever work itself into a profitable venture), but I seriously can’t stand it when people say “I could care less”. Oh, so you do care then? How about “I couldN’T care less”??

05/18/2012 09:59 AM

Although Jimmy Spencer is not vivable on TV and in racing as he once was it is nice to see him leaving the sport. We won’t count our chickens before they hatch because he might just want to return. Yes he needs to have a long conversation with Kurt before leaving. I would like to see Jimmy take the Waltrip brothers with him and maybe they would wind up in Venezula with Chavez.

Tom Dalfonzo
05/18/2012 10:02 AM

Would it be cool if all these foreign car manufacturers came out with new versions of very old pony & muscle cars? The list of old pony & muscle cars includes the AMC Javelin SST, the AMC Machine, the Buick Gran Sport, the Mercury Cyclone CJ, the Mercury Cougar, the Oldsmobile 442, the Plymouth Barracuda, the Plymouth Road Runner, the Pontiac Firebird, and the Pontiac GTO. The idea would be for these foreign makers to each sign the rights to manufacture one old pony or muscle car, then build & turn them out in mass production. Would that work out?

Jeff Meyer FS staff
05/18/2012 05:02 PM

For the sake of keeping it REAL, I couldn’t care less.

I sincerely apologize for any stress my Appalacian American english may have caused.

05/19/2012 09:06 AM

I was born in 1960 so SS and Chev means Impala SS, Camaro SS, Chevelle SS. Just a Chev SS is weird and not so wonderful. Plus, having an import (an older one at that) representing my favourite brand leaves me cold. The only thing right about it is the V8 and rear wheel drive.

But, the spec series COT’s seems to be more decal wars than anything representing a manufacturer at the moment. Get rid of the aero tracks. Get rid of the aero splitters. Make the cars’ sheet metal have the same bends and proportions of the cars they allegedly represent and then pan the bloody cameras back and show us some racin’!

05/19/2012 12:35 PM

I agree completely with Dennis: Use the stock sheet metal. Screw aero, screw “parity” Just race realistic cars and show me the races.

BTW: Brian France is much like Kim-Jong-Un. Both, without any real qualifications, inherited their jobs and both have propagandists who invent and then extoll their virtues. But both are basically clueless.

05/19/2012 01:09 PM

Nascar needs more brands like Danica and maybe Hulk Hogan. Busch can drive but that’s about it. Oh, I forgot Pee Wee Herman. He needs a ride.

05/20/2012 12:53 AM

While I wholeheartedly disagree with you on the “sells on Monday” part I have to say that it is interesting that while Penske announces that he is switching to fords next year, his Dodge with BK in it it whipping those fords an awful lot. We need brand loyal fans and there are many like me. As for the SS, this is the typical junk we have heard from the Toyota group for a couple of years, they’re made in KY. Well just because you pay some folks to assemble a car in KY doesn’t make you an American company. Toyota and other manufacturers are not American and when you buy one most of the money goes to build a foreign government. Otherwise we would have never bailed out Chrysler and GM. It is not the same and if you “could care less” (wrong grammar by the way) then you need to enroll at the local community college and take economics 101. Would you say that because some parts of an impala are assembled in canada that GM is a Canadian company? I would rather have a sister in a brothel than drive a Toyota


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.