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2-Headed Monster: Should Subway Have Left Daniel Suarez?

Earlier last week, Daniel Suarez had a patch over where the Subway logo would usually be on his fire suit. The reason was because the fast food sandwich company decided to terminate its contract with one race left on its deal. It ended up being a segment where Suarez handed out Dunkin’ Donuts that turned Subway away from Suarez and the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team.

Did Subway make the right decision to pull out of its contract with Daniel Suarez?

Donuts Are Better Anyway

Let’s go into the minds of Subway executives, shall we?

“Ah, I sure do love our new driver Daniel Suarez. He’s bringing in a new generation of fans from a new country and promoting out wonderful company while doing so? What could go wro … wait are those donuts? ARE THOSE DUNKIN’ DONUTS? GET MANAGEMENT ON THE PHONE RIGHT NOW.”

Did that conversation happen? Well, I guess we’ll never know. But my intuition tells me it probably didn’t. But is that dumb conversation how Subway looks right now? You bet your behind it is.

Hell to the naw. Subway didn’t make the right decision by pulling out of it’s contract with the reigning XFINITY Series champion.

This whole thing is over some damn donuts. I mean, come on? Did it really hurt your feelings that bad, Subway? Call me crazy, but I doubt a donut lover is coming to your sandwich shop to get a frosted pastry delight.

Suarez didn’t come up with this idea to hand out donuts to fans at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was NBC’s idea, hence the “Desayuno with Daniel” segment that this occurred in.

Is it Suarez’s fault for handing out another company’s product that isn’t his that could possibly be deemed a conflict of interest? In all fairness, yes. Drivers need to know what they can and can’t do when it comes to sponsorship.

You won’t see Jimmie Johnson walk into a Home Depot, or Chase Elliott walk into an AutoZone, or Brad Keselowski drinking a Budweiser, or Kyle Larson shopping at Walmart. I think you get the point.

So you wouldn’t expect Suarez to be handing out Jimmy John’s, right? Donuts, though? Oh, those are WAYYYY over the line. Warrants termination, for sure.

Look, this whole situation is messed up. My gut tells me Subway wanted an out the second Carl Edwards got up and left Joe Gibbs Racing. Because they sponsored him, not Suarez. But with that being said, show some professionalism and/or honesty, would you?

If you don’t want to sponsor the kid, I can respect that. If you say up front that you don’t want to, I can respect that as well. What I can’t respect, though, is using your driver handing out donuts as a part of a harmless pre-race segment on television that 99 percent of the general public had no idea even happened as a means for firing him.

I hope Suarez gets another sponsor to replace Subway, because a young driver with a bright future and championship already under his belt deserves one that’ll support him and whatever his breakfast choices are.

Eat at Quizno’s, eat at Jimmy John’s, eat at Jersey Mike’s. Heck, do whatever you want. All I know is that I’ll be eliminating Subway from my diet for the foreseeable future. – Davey Segal

No Sub For Free Press

I am not about to say that Subway should have dropped Suarez because I do not believe that. He is a bright young racer with huge potential; the type of driver the sub chain should want to be associated with.

However, Subway’s reason for dropping him was a just one. When the Mexican native inked the deal to drive the No. 19, he agreed to represent its sponsors to best of his abilities at every appearance and every time he gets on television.

Subway would not have cared if Suarez had gone out and bought some Dunkin’ Donuts during his free time, but that is not what he did. He did an entire segment for a national audience that was basically a giant billboard for Dunkin’ Donuts.

Why did it have to be Dunkin’ Donuts? I am sure that there might have been a small donut shop somewhere in the area that Suarez and the NBC crew could have gotten the donuts from. Subway probably would not have had a problem with that, and it would have made the segment more heartwarming instead of a corporate sellout piece of entertainment.

My guess is that Dunkin’ Donuts gave NBC some sponsor dollars and some free donuts.

Race fans are mad at Subway and threatening to boycott, but where is the anger towards NBC or Dunkin’? I have not seen either company step up to foot the bill for the money they cost Suarez over the segment. They both benefitted from it, so why not help out the team they screwed over?

If I were Suarez, I would never do another segment, feature or interview again for NBC until it made amends. And I would easily never set foot in a Dunkin’ Donuts again. I’d rather have Krispy Kreme anyway (sponsor me, Krispy Kreme. I can drive better than Gray Gaulding).

Even with all of the bad press Subway received for pulling out, its like the old saying goes, “all news is good news.”

Race fans can say they are mad, but they are not going to boycott. Most of the areas in this country where the rare breed of race fans are still located have nothing but a Subway in their towns.

You go into rural America and there is no Jimmy John’s or Jersey Mike’s, but there is a Subway. You could be in the most isolated part of the country and I bet you would still find a Subway.

If anything, this whole “scandal” will put Subway at the forefront of the minds of race fans and they will be more tempted to stop the next time they drive by one. We Americans can’t boycott a fast food restaurant; we don’t know how.

I’m mad about this whole deal too, but I would devour a footlong meatball marinara right about now.

This boycott will backfire the same way as the 2012 Chick-fil-A boycott. That boycott ended with record-setting sales for the chicken franchise.

The bottom line on this Subway drama is that the company did not come to Joe Gibbs Racing to sponsor Suarez in the first place. It came to sponsor Carl Edwards.

When Edwards quit, Subway had every right and reason to end the relationship. Had the Subway executives decided to end it before the start of this season, they would have been labeled as racists for not wanting to sponsor a Mexico-born driver. The company would have struggled much more to save face had that happened.

Instead, they gave Suarez a chance to represent the brand, and the rookie blew it.

Again, I would have given the youngster another chance and think he would be awesome sponsor, but I am not the one running a company worth over $7 billion. – Michael Massie

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About Davey Segal

Davey Segal
Davey joined the site prior to the 2017 season and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the bi-weekly column "Fire on Fridays" and spearheads Frontstretchs video content. He's covered the ARCA Menards Series East and West extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as a production assistant for NBC Sports Washington.

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31 comments

  1. Avatar

    Stop with trying to make this a “two headed monster” BS! I get you guys need a column to write, but Jesus….

    SUBWAY, wonderfully noted by MUTT OR JEFF ABOVE is a chain that is recognized anywhere in the world. I know, I live it. We just got another chain (one outlet) where I live…Subway IS THE ONLY CHAIN SANDWICH SHOP, and is the CHAIN of the land regarding SUBS!….

    JERSEY MIKE’S just opened one shop on the island. I hope they succeed!!!! Living on an island and all of the new shops opening up are the ones we have already, just more of them. ANOTHER STARBUCKS, ANOTHER MCDONALD’S. ANOTHER SUBWAY, ANOTHER WALGREEN’S, ANOTHER LONGS ANOTHER SAFEWAY ETC! How refreshing for Jersey Mikes!! Time will tell if the lone chain on this island succeeds!

    The point is SUBWAY HAS INTERNATIONAL BRAND RECOGNITION….DANNY S. WHO THE FLUCK CARES? Or knows about him outside of what NASCAR jams down your throat. DOUBT the boycott of a few business savvy challenged JGR fans will bankrupt the chain or hurt the brand! Carl Edwards was the brand recognition all across America and beyond with his commercial, etc. Do you think SUBWAY was happy with whatever BS JGR gave them as to Carl leaving? IMO.

    And no, I am no fan of SUBWAY. Had the originals (great Subways) in my l area before the FRANCHISE FEVER took over. Apples and oranges from the original, this stuff now is .nasty, and oddly tasteless, imo! That is not however, as many people are trying to attack their product! Who cares if you like the chain or not!!! A non conversation. THE BOTTOM LINE IS SUBWAY WAS USING THEIR DOLLARS TO GIVE TO JGR, THERE WAS SOMETHING SUBWAY DID NOT LIKE, THEY STOPPED THE FUNDS. WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND WITH SO MANY PEOPLE IT SEEMS? Spoiled, childish, naivete and stupidity it seems.

    • Avatar

      And by the way, Hamlin’s second encumbered win was the Saturday event, not his other Cup win.

      • Avatar

        Thanks…I was wondering because I didn’t see the headlines screaming! Confusing as to what gets “punished”, who gets “punished”…etc. I am still confused… :) :)

    • Avatar

      Jersey Mike’s runs circles around Subway.

      As for Subway/JGR/Dunkin Donuts. Meh, who cares…

      • Avatar

        Preach on. Subway is the McDonald’s of sandwich shops. If you don’t have an authentic deli in your town, Jersey Mike’s is as close as one can get to the real deal. Tends to be more expensive but you get what you pay for.

        • Avatar

          Thanks, just got Jersey Mikes…the only other shop to give Subway a run for their money where I live. I grew up in the TRI STATE area, I adore and miss a good deli sandwich. I tried Jersey Mikes this past weekend, close as I could get to the real thing. Pricey, but everything here is. It was much better than Subway, which I have not eaten in years.

  2. Avatar

    “Look, this whole situation is messed up. My gut tells me Subway wanted an out the second Carl Edwards got up and left Joe Gibbs Racing. Because they sponsored him, not Suarez. But with that being said, show some professionalism and/or honesty, would you?

    If you don’t want to sponsor the kid, I can respect that. If you say up front that you don’t want to, I can respect that as well. What I can’t respect, though, is using your driver handing out donuts as a part of a harmless pre-race segment on television that 99 percent of the general public had no idea even happened as a means for firing him.”

    BINGO! Those two paragraphs capture my feelings exactly.

  3. Avatar

    This is a simple issue if you take the emotions out of it. JGR took Subway’s money so that they could race and, make money off of it. In exchange they promised to promote the Subway product. Straightforward business deal.
    Then one of JGR’s employees, one of their most visible employee’s, goes on TV and publicly promotes a competitor. Something he, or his handlers, should have known violated the deal between JGR and Subway. Dumb move by another young millionaire.
    So Subway was certainly within their rights to say the deal is off. What they choose to do now is their business and I suppose we will see soon enough.

    • Avatar

      Doesn’t this sound like Danica’s situation when she promoted her sponsor competitor?

    • Avatar

      I will buy that when Subway starts selling donuts.

      Here’s a question for everyone… I did not see the NBC bit where they were handing out donuts but I assume the donuts were in a DD box. If they had taken the donuts out of the DD box and put them on a tray or in a generic box, would that have been OK?

      • Avatar

        Thanks Bill! I have a Subway about a mile from my house. I stop in a couple times a year in hopes that someone there has learned to BAKE THE DAMN BREAD! Never going to happen. The food is fresh enough. The cheese… even the pepper-jack… is tasteless, but the meats and veggies are fine. The bread, all flavors, is half-baked and I just can’t eat it.
        That said, when I have been there, not once have I ever seen a doughnut! NEVER!
        They sell cookies. Never tried one. Far too expensive for a single cookie, and I have cookies at home that come in a box. Lord, I miss Quiznos! Come to think of it, I miss Carl Edwards too! A lot! Wonder if the “encumbered” wins and similar tactics played a part in his decision to leave. No matter… I still miss him.
        As for the rest of this “Monster”, it’s a light news day. Nothing else to read.

        • Avatar

          Dunkin Donuts sells sandwiches, too. Maybe Subway sees Dunkin Donuts as a competitor for the sandwich market?

        • Avatar

          PattyKay,
          I was happy when they just learned how to cut the rolls correctly (along the side down the middle). Remember when they used to cut a 60 degree wedge along the top and then pile everything in and put the wedge back on top?
          Regardless, I’m not a Subway fan, a JGR ran, a Toyota fan, a Suarez fan or a Dunkin Donuts fan. I just don’t like the fact that Subway couldn’t be honest and say they wanted out of the contract because of NASCAR’s diminished fan base and ratings and that they finally found a way. (Heck most fans would agree with that and understand). I guess I’m just tired of someone peeing on me and telling me it’s raining. That somehow we are all just too stupid to figure out what’s really happening and we’ll believe whatever they tell us. .

    • Avatar

      Russ, I agree completely!!!!!!!! BUSINESS, BUSINESS, BUSINESS. And IT IS SUBWAY’S MONEY. People forget that!

      • Avatar

        Every day we are approached by other business people who want to do business with us. They may range from the local high school wanting you to buy an ad for the yearbook, to the never ending calls about a killer deal on credit card processing fees, to the email from someone in China wanting to see you container loads of something. And there is of course everything in between.
        So how do you decide who to do business with? Most likely price and quality play a significant part in the decision. But trust is another part. Can you trust them to do what they agreed to do.
        In this case it appears that JGR, through their employee, and a driver is an employee, failed that test.
        Spin it however you want, but thats the reality. And its their fault nobody else. If it weren’t the attorneys would have been heard from long before now.

  4. Avatar

    Subway next door is not getting my business (at least for a while), Subway will survive without me, but I feel better walking 3 blocks to Jimmy Johns.

    Dunkin Donuts is not a direct competitor. Suarez was actually promoting Subway by being on TV, I thought of Subway when I saw the Suarez donut clip, that’s how brand advertising works. Now when I see Suarez I will think of Subway in a negative frame.

    Call me spoiled, childish, etc. (kb) if you like but those words (IMO) reflect Subway’s actions.

  5. Avatar

    Another problem with the modern era of the sport. Sponsors used to pay to place a logo on the side of a car. Now apparently they essentially purchase the driver as a marketing tool. When people complain about the new era of NASCAR being less interesting/exciting than the old era, I wonder how much of that is due to the new requirements of sponsor relationships. Now drivers will be afraid to say or do anything not pre-approved by the all-powerful sponsor.

    • Avatar

      Actually, that’s been the case with sponsorship for a long time. Why do you think a no talent like Mikey Waltrip was able to drive for so long? Or Ken Schrader? Or Kenny Wallace? Because they knew how to schmooze the sponsors. And the sponsors loved it!

  6. Avatar

    I really don’t care but it would be fitting if DD came on as a sponsor next year or the rest of this year.

  7. Matt

    It should stand as obvious that the sandwiches in question are called Subways only in developing third world nations….like New Jersey. Philadelphia is the spiritual home of the “hoagie.’ During World War II defense contractors working on Hog Island couldn’t come to shore for lunch so they originally bought those huge sandwiches to work with them and they became known as “Hoggies”. Little bit of a marketing issue there with the Lean Cuisine types so it was modified to Hoagie, and like Steak Sandwiches you’ve got to come to Philly to try a real one.
    I’m not sure how this is all supposed to work. Since Suarez was driving for Subway would it be a violation for him to drive to work rather than take the Subway? When a driver who is sponsored by Pepsi wins the Coca Cola 600 is he supposed to avoid victory lane so as not to have the rival’s props and logos shown on TV? How is it the four Hendrick cars only display Monster Energy decals at the track not outside of it or in any advertising because somehow Mountain Dew and Monster are seen to be rivals. Speaking of which are Monster Engergy drivers forbidden to see the new Stephen King movie “It” because “It” promotes a rival monster?
    Around here, the only Subways I know of are in the lobbies of the Wal-Marts. Enough said. It’s amazing they keep those rolls even semi-palatable, what with them having to be imported from China like everything else at Wally World.

  8. Avatar

    I’m sorry but given the society we live in today, Subway would have unquestionably been fried over the coals by the SJW warriors if Subway simply dropped Saurez after Edwards left? 90% of the people would have understood it as a business decision, but the loudest 10% would have been screaming from the mountaintops about how racist Subway is and of course the bloodsucking media would have been all over it too. So I’m pretty sure they are fine with the backlash from this, since it will blow over by the time the playoffs get here in 2 weeks.

    • Avatar

      I still don’t see or get the backlash. Business decision and it is their money. Why would anybody get upset about Suarez, a nobody The millions and millions all over the world who buy their sandwiches never even heard of the clown. Go Subway!

  9. Avatar

    If Subway only had one more race as sponsor, why didn’t they just let the last race be the last race and then say they’re not renewing the sponsorship? They wouldn’t have to give a reason and Brian’s product as we know it just gets worse. Then there could have a lot of articles by the experts speculating on the reason and better publicity.

  10. Avatar

    I have to believe there is more to this story then is being reported. I am from a small town in upstate NY, about 10 years ago two new businesses came to town, guess what they were? Yes, Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts. And guess what, they share a building and parking lot. Also I have been in various truck stops and convenience stores where both companies have an outlet. So if they are truly competitors why would both franchises agree to share space in the same building?

    And I agree, there was only one race left for Subway to sponsor Suarez. Carry out the agreement and then not renew. Would have attracted a lot less attention I think.

  11. Avatar

    Apparently no one seems to understand that Subway sells breakfast sandwiches in many markets. Dunkin Donuts is in direct competition for not only breakfast, but lunch in many parts of the country. This is like Chase Elliot walking into Buffalo Wild Wings or Jamie McMurray walking into Taco Bell. Subway is right to be pissed.

    • Avatar

      Forget about all that.
      Do YOU believe they got out for that reason (whether it is valid or not) or do you think they were already looking for a way out?
      If the latter, then how do you like Subway thinking you are too stupid to realize that it was just a convenient excuse to get out of their contract?

  12. Avatar

    I think that Subway was just itchin’ for any way they could to get out of NASCAR. The reason they gave was infantile at best but I sort of don’t blame them because they paid for and reasonably expected to get potential champion Carl Edwards but wound up with a rookie (an awesome rookie, but still a rookie) that nobody really ever heard of at the time.

    Also, in the more grand arena, Target, Farmers Ins., etc show that the days of the $20 million a year sponsorships are shriveling up just about everywhere. Since Subway is having trouble trying to sell it’s famous $5 Footlongs for over $6 now probably put them in a bind and they needed to find a way out… no matter how chicken- **** it might be.

    My humble opinion, of course.

    -James B.
    Northern California.