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
About the author
Davey is in his fifth season with Frontstretch and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the "NASCAR Mailbox" column, spearheads the site's video content and hosts the Frontstretch Podcast weekly. He's covered the K&N Pro Series and ARCA extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as an associate producer for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and production assistant for NBC Sports Washington. Follow him on Twitter @DaveyCenter.