The Frontstretch: Nextel and NASCAR Continue to Unload Gun Into Own Foot by Jeff Meyer -- Wednesday March 28, 2007

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Nextel and NASCAR Continue to Unload Gun Into Own Foot

Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday March 28, 2007


I hate to write about the same topic 2 weeks in a row, but with this column running so late in the week (and past deadline!), all the concerns with the weeks BIG story, the CoT, have already been all worked out by all the other respected journalists that seem to be so plentiful these days. Fortunately for me, I have never been accused of being a “respected journalist.”

All I will say, for now, about the CoT is this; I said a long time ago that absolutely NOTHING will be learned about how the CoT actually races from Bristol. The same is true for next week, too. Bristol was the stupidest place on earth for its debut. “Stupid” is NASCAR's forte….not only in their decisions that affect the sport of racing, but also in their perception of you, the casual fan.

Let us assume for a moment that I am one of those “casual” fans, and I have a cell phone. That should be an easy assumption, as everyone on the planet does. Let's further assume that my wireless provider is Cingular. Now, as a Cingular customer who happens to be a NASCAR fan, I am acutely aware that my wireless provider sponsors a rather competitive race car. I am also acutely aware that Cingular was bought by AT&T, and that the brand “Cingular” will soon cease to exist. I am aware of this last fact because I am the one that gets the bill every month. Are you with me so far?

Now, I don't know the exact date that the Cingular name will be phased out, but I DO know that in a month or two down the road, AT&T, not Cingular, will be my wireless provider. Cingular will have ceased to exist. Now, pay close attention here…because this is where Nextel and NASCAR assume you are stupid.

NASCAR and Nextel think, that just because the Cingular logo remains on the car, I, the race fan and the wireless customer, will not realize that I really now have AT&T! This is some of the most insane crap to come out of big business in years!

Listen up, Nextel. Listen up, NASCAR! Why do you insult me? I KNOW that certain companies were grandfathered in sponsorship when you took over the series in 2004. I KNOW that all other wireless companies were barred at that time from entering as a sponsor, BUT I AM NOT STUPID!

It is not ANOTHER company coming in. It is a company that got bought by another and had its name changed! No big deal. My phone service didn't change. My support of my provider’s car, if I liked him in the first place, did not change! Why should you care if the stupid logo on the car changes?!

How do you think I am going to feel as a (now) AT&T customer toward Nextel and NASCAR? I'll tell you, I would be resentful as hell! Why? Because it is pure, unadulterated nonsense!

Am I supposed to feel some grand sense of respect and loyalty to Nextel just because they had some overpaid lawyer write some BS clause in their contract with NASCAR as the Series sponsor? Is this their marketing plan to win me over as a Nextel customer? Do they think I am walking around in a drooling daze chanting “Nextel/NASCAR, Nextel/NASCAR, I like racing. Must switch providers. Nextel sponsors NASCAR. Must switch providers?!”

Not one “Cingular” customer is going to switch to you, Nextel! In fact, those that follow the No. 31 car are going to hate you for what you are doing, and rightfully so! Just as cautions breed cautions, arrogance breeds contempt.

As for you, NASCAR, the masses are already fed up with your ever more blatant greed and alienation of segment after segment of the fan base. If you people are supposed to be soooo market savvy, why do you continue to shoot yourselves in the foot round after round? The fans are not as stupid as you (sentence should end there!) think they are.

Soon, the gun will be empty, and do you know what? No one will be around to drive you to the hospital. No one will care. They'll all be watching the NFL.

Stay off the wall (but on your AT&T plan!),

Jeff Meyer

Author’s Note: Last week, I mostly cut on Sunoco and their harassment of Shell and Kevin Harvick concerning the SIZE of Shell's logos on the winning Daytona 500 car. Sunoco doesn't like it because THEY are the "Official Fuel Supplier" of NASCAR. Well, since that article, a very astute reader sent me a great picture of a Sunoco sponsored car from back in the day when Unocal 76 was the Official Fuel Supplier. It did not arrive in time to be posted with the article, but it is priceless and, as the saying goes, is worth a thousand words. It can be found here:,1051.0.html

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 ‘Sold’ Off
Tech Talk with Tony Gibson: Taking Stock Of Danica Patrick In Year Two
Vexing Vito: Three Drivers In Need of a Role Reversal
Going By the Numbers: Top-10 NASCAR Variety Hard To Come By In…
Truckin’ Thursdays: Lessons Learned Just Two Races In
Fantasy Insider: Team Revelations For NASCAR’s Short Tracks



©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

03/29/2007 10:08 AM

Of course Sonoco sponsored a car. So did Texaco and it wasn’t the Havoline Ford, it was the Texaco/Havoline Ford. NASCAR is so busy squeezing every last dollar out of it’s “official sponsors” it doesn’t care what the fans think. If the fans don’t buy tickets, the sponsor money comes in anyway. The bottom line is the enrichment of the France family. Once they have gotten every last penny from the sport the elder France’s built, Brian and his sibilings will cast it off like trash to the dump. Like typical spoiled rich kids, NASCAR is a toy that daddy gave them to play with.

03/29/2007 11:04 AM

Our providers contract is up for renewal in 3 months and we had thought of switching to Nextel. This would be 5 phones switching. Now there is now way in H that we will switch to Nextel. In fact AT&T/Cingular is looking better every day. If Nextel can’t stand the heat maybe they should get out of the kitchen. Sponsors are hard to come by and they are needed for teams to exist. This is terrible advertising for Nextel and great advertising for AT&T. Same goes for the Harvick issue. I have started stopping at Shell now and found out my car likes it better. Nextel and Nascar are being bullies. No wonder sponsors are so hard to get. R Gordon just had a sponsor issue also.

03/29/2007 11:29 AM

Nextel paid Nascar for the rights to be the title sponsor. Not one dime of that money went to Jeff Burtons team. If, as Nascar says, everyone is an independent contractor then why can’t they be allowed to get what ever sponsor they want on their car. I guess it’s ok for Nascar to get alot of money but not the teams. I’m sticking with AT&T.

03/29/2007 12:30 PM

It seems to me there is a bit of a double standard here. Next year, the entire series is going to be renamed because Sprint bought Nextel. Nobody lifted so much as an eyebrow at that. The same should apply for everyone else.

03/29/2007 12:45 PM

Brian France is more concerned about how it will help make him more money than whether or not it helps the racing. He is too busy trying to milk what Big Bill built for every dime that he can get.

I saw on the discussion boards the entire list of “Official” whatever “Of NASCAR.” This list is so huge that it precludes many sponsors from coming into the sport because they would be in conflict with one of these companies. NASCAR is just concerned about how they can make some more money, and not how the teams can get more sponsors to help them race.

Dot Jones
03/29/2007 02:00 PM

Good point Beth. I was wondering when someone was going to mention it. My roommate uses nextel for work. He can’t even talk to someone 2 feet away, that’s how bad their service is. Our personal cell phones are Cingular/AT&T. Here’s a funny story about nextel’s sucky service. I did the Richard Petty Driving Exp at LVMS. One of the guys working there was on his cell phone (did you guess nextel?, and he had to keep repeating himself to the person on the other end. I stood there and laughed.

03/30/2007 06:10 PM

Quoted for emphasis!!!

Nextel paid Nascar for the rights to be the title sponsor. Not one dime of that money went to Jeff Burtons team. If, as Nascar says, everyone is an independent contractor then why can’t they be allowed to get what ever sponsor they want on their car. I guess it’s ok for Nascar to get alot of money but not the teams. I’m sticking with AT&T.
03/29/2007 02:29 PM


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
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