Credit: Mike Neff

NASCAR 101: Didn’t Pay Your NASCAR Sponsorship Bill? You’re Not Alone

Kyle Busch and his Kyle Busch Motorsports are in the midst of a lawsuit – though they’re not on the receiving end. Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Camping World Truck Series team had sued former driver Justin Boston and sponsor Zloop after the company reportedly skipped out on payments to keep Boston in the No. 54 on a full-time basis.

According to the lawsuit, Zloop missed $650,000 in payments toward an annual contract of $3.2 million, with money missed out on in May and June. Boston was out of the ride after nine races, with performance an issue, too – he had scored just four top-10 finishes all season.

Zloop certainly isn’t the first in NASCAR to experience this problem: the money promised isn’t what ends up showing up in the check by the end of the year. Sometimes, checks don’t appear at all, and a team that was once expecting to run the full season with a given driver is suddenly out after five races – or less.

Perhaps you’ll recall a few of these other sponsors that didn’t quite live up to what they originally announced when it came to branding a NASCAR race team – or so it was alleged.

(Photo: Amy Henderson)
Kyle Busch Motorsports and driver Justin Boston parted ways recently due to unpaid funds on the part of Boston’s sponsor, Zloop. (Photo: Amy Henderson)

Big Daddy’s BBQ Sauce

The Yukon, Oklahoma-based barbecue sauce company first appeared in NASCAR in the late 1990s, its biggest package being a sponsorship of Mike Harmon for Donlavey Racing in 1999 for rookie of the year in the Winston Cup Series. But according to the Baltimore SunBig Daddy”s never paid – nor did it supply funds to some of its other racing ventures – and Harmon never took the track at Daytona. Interestingly, Big Daddy’s ended up sponsoring other cars that season and helmed South Boston Speedway in the early 2000s as a title sponsor.

Lycos

There was a time when Google wasn’t virtually the only search engine the majority of Internet users utilized, especially in the late ’90s and early 2000s. One of those was Lycos, which was also a web portal that owned websites like Angelfire, Matchmaker.com and more. Lycos initially came to NASCAR fans’ eyes as sponsor of Matt Kenseth‘s Busch Series ride, but then leapt to Cup aboard Johnny Benson’s No. 10 for Tyler Jet Motorsports in 2000. However, Lycos decals were off the car by July, team owner Tim Beverley claiming the company had not come through on banner advertising online, saying that the ads the team sold were never actually displayed and were worth around $5.5 million. The Indy Racing League’s TeamXTreme joined a lawsuit Beverley helmed, claiming it had a similar experience.

Speedblock/Hechinger/Builders Square

Speaking of Tim Beverley: in 1998, Beverley bought Darrell Waltrip’s old self-owned race team after Waltrip was forced to scale back the schedule of his No. 17 early that season. The reason? Speedblock, which signed on as sponsor for the season, could only pay portions of the sponsorship dollars it promised, the company claiming a fellow sponsor, Builders Square, did not pay as it had promised, something the other called false allegations. Either way, it was the end of Waltrip’s No. 17 in NASCAR.

OXYwater

In early 2013, the news was out: FAS Lane Racing’s No. 32 would be sponsored for three years by up-and-comer OXYwater, beginning with 24 races that year and expanding to full seasons the next two years. Then the IRS caught up, and the Columbus, Ohio, company was convicted of fraud, misusing millions of dollars from investors. The sponsorship was pulled from the No. 32 after the Brickyard 400, the company filing bankruptcy. Earlier this week, one man behind OXYwater was sentenced to seven years in prison.

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About Kevin Rutherford

Kevin Rutherford
Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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6 comments

  1. Avatar

    I forget a few years ago when Logano was driving for Gibbs in the Nationwide series and he won at Fontana. I believe the company was Translux (???) very cool paint job, the driver got their name in V-lane..and poof..you find out Gibbs is suing them for non full payment. What a racket and screwy business model. Unless Brian works with Racers Alliance, NASCAR and the thousand of employees that work in the industry will get a cold dose of reality..sooner than later. Imo.

    • Phil Allaway

      I remember the Trans-Lux deal. Also agree on the paint scheme. I liked it a bunch. The suit was a while back (a year or two ago). I figured that it would have been privately settled by now. Guess not.

      As for Big Daddy’s, they sponsored Donnie Beechler in the IRL for a time and Larry Hedrick’s No. 41 in Cup in 2000 (Rick Mast and Gary Bradberry drove for the team) before it closed down for reasons likely tied to the rest of that stupidity. Also, they sponsored 3 cars for Ron Hornaday, Motohiro Nakaji and Lance Norick for the exhibition race at Motegi in 1998.

      Speaking of the Lycos deal, I was a big Johnny Benson fan at the time that all went down. It forced the TylerJet Motorsports-MB2 Motorsports merger and apparently drove Tim Beverley to drugs. I saw somewhere that he ended in prison. Even the merger simply bought the team a couple of weeks. Aaron’s really saved their hides. They already had a deal in place with Valvoline for 2001. They just had to make it there. It was touch and go for much of the summer, despite Benson being in the top-15 in points (after DNQ’ing at Atlanta in March) and having a career resurgence after struggling through 1999 at what was considered the 5th car at Roush Racing.

  2. Avatar

    Expect more of this. The overnight TV numbers for the Bristol race were the lowest in at least 15 years. Bristol! The point being that as fans continue to abandon NASCAR it is logical to assume that the sponsors will not be far behind.

    • Avatar

      What I’m surprised that we haven’t seen is the sponsors not committing to any of the last 10 races unless the team makes the Chase. On alternately a sharply reduced price if you dont make it.

      • Avatar

        I’ll bet there are performance clauses involved that result in a reduced rate, but that the contracts are structured so the teams have to keep the logos on despite the discount.

  3. Avatar

    The flip side of this are the race teams that don’t live up to their commitments to the sponsor. Or where the sponsor money doesnt go into the team but rather the owners pockets.