By on November 27, 2017

NASCAR Chevelle, Image: Wikipedia

“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” For years, this was the missive put forth by race teams and gearheads within the bowels of OEMs who were looking for a slice of the budget. It worked for a time, especially in the halcyon days of the 1960s and ’70s.

Is it the same today? I’m not so sure.

Even in more recent years, after teams figured out they could turn their cars into rolling billboards, a good many consumers bought goods because they sponsored a particular driver … or refused to buy a product because they sponsored a particular driver. I’ll freely cop to falling in this particular trap; when a certain driver for whom I had little affection was sponsored by Pepsi, I refused to buy it anymore, instead switching to Coke products.

This decision, naturally, developed my taste buds in favor of a soft drink from a red can — a purchasing pattern that continues to this day. Twenty-five years of buying Coca-Cola whenever I reach for a soda originated from a sponsorship decision in the early ’90s made by people I’ve never met. No one has ever accused me of being a wholly logical human being.

How about you? Has the motorsports marketing machine ever influenced any of your buying decisions?

[Image: Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

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26 Comments on “QOTD: Does Motorsport Hold Any Pursestrings?...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am not quite the Nascar fan that I used to be, but I still try to patronize the businesses that sponsor the sport.

    I am on my 2nd Denver Mattress; bought the first one prior to Barney Visar starting his team. I can’t say that I specifically not purchased a product or store due to who they sponsor. The bad news for Toyota, I still can’t ever bring myself to buy a Camry, no matter how many cars they race on Sunday.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am not quite the Nascar fan that I used to be, but I still try to patronize the businesses that sponsor the sport.

    I am on my 2nd Denver Mattress; bought the first one prior to Barney Visar starting his team. I can’t say that I specifically not purchased a product or store due to who they sponsor. The bad news for Toyota, I still can’t ever bring myself to buy a Camry, no matter how many cars they race on Sunday.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Hell no. 1 because people generally don’t care about motorsport, and 2 because race cars are almost comically unrelated to road cars. I think part of it is how head-spinningly complex race cars have become… wasn’t it last year that like none of the LMP1 cars were able to finish the 24HoLM?

    They need to get back to taking cars off the street, making some slight mods and taking them racing. That would get people excited.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      Yes, because Continental Tire Challenge and lower-tier touring car racing is setting the world alight. Getting the race cars mechanically more relevant to street cars is more important than visually IMHO. Make NASCAR engines based on commercially available blocks, like a 6.2 V8 for Chevy and a 3.5TT V6 for Ford. I don’t know what to do with F1.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    There’s nothing that NASCAR can currently do that would cause me to modify my buying habits nor watch one of their races. They lost me in the ’80s when all pretense that production-based cars in the races held Sunday could be purchased on Monday. Should be renamed NAAR by dropping the stock car from the name. For me it would be a lot more interesting to see 2017 Ford Fusion front-wheel drive sedans racing 2017 Dodge Charger rear-wheel drive sedans with Chevy Malibu’s/Impala’s mixed in. But there’s no big money in that and that’s a pity.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    I used to be a rabid motor sports fan and followed everything with an engine, but modern racing has become so elitist and out of touch the every-day real world, I can’t abide it anymore. I still follow Formula Vee and regional tractor pulls, and some of my friends still race vintage motorcycles, but F1 and Indy just aren’t interested in me, nor even rally racing for that matter, and that’s too bad.
    :-(

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Back in the days when the Speed channel existed, they would show Nascar highlights from the 1960s/1970s. Really a lot of fun to watch since the cars really were modified version of stuff you could buy for the street.

    I imagine the ol’ G-body Monte Carlo from the 80s were kept around partially for Nascar reasons, same with the Ford Thunderbird.

  • avatar
    ajla

    All you people should watch sports car racing.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    I would echo the comments above regarding NASCAR – it’s simply been reduced to a spec-car series (loved it in the 1970’s and 80’s). I follow NHRA more actively because of the level of sportsman involvement (they’re right there racing on Sunday with the pros)and I’ve tried to “boycott” Budweiser since they stopped sponsoring drag racing. Not sure they’ve noticed yet . . . . .

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I used to love NASCAR, but really starting in the 90’s, it was all about the promotion and glitz. They lost many of their part-time and smaller race teams which could be fun to follow.

    They really should race SUVs and CUVs like they used to have the Winston Cup for the “big” cars and the Grand National Series for the compact cars. I think folks would relate to it better as it seems no one buys sedans and they could open up competition to anyone. Who wants to see a Hyundai Santa Fe NASCAR racer? I do!

    In fact, all of the race series in the US should do the same. It would be cool to see Trans-Am CR-Vs and Terrains. Or IMSA Suburbans. How about Pro Stock Atlases and RX300s? Maybe we could all lump them into one series that would be like Global Rallycross? It would save a lot of duplication and effort…

    No, I’ve never really bought or not bought something because of a racing sponsorship…

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      I agree that there needs crossover racing, whether it’s on an oval, road course, or rallycross. The Jaguar I-Pace spec series that’s starting next year is a step in the right direction.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    In order for sponsorship to work, you have to be aware of it. Since auto racing in general has a declining audience, most pronounced in NASCAR and Indy, far fewer people are seeing the cars and the sponsor logos attached. I can’t tell you who sponsors any of the major drivers/teams in any of the major racing leagues today, but I do remember John Player Lotus, STP Petty Racing, Holly Farms Junior Johnson teams from the 1970s because I actually followed the racing in those days when the cars were relevant and good looking, and the drivers had real skill and personality.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Agree with your post except the part about driver skill. Today’s best drivers are superb. Drivers today start at very young ages, and most have 15 yrs or more competition experience before they make the pro ranks. Also physical conditioning is much more of a factor compared to the “old days”.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        I’ve been told that most of the current drivers are not very comfortable with a loose car, so I’m not sure the skill is the same. As for endurance, it is mainly about surviving G-forces which are far higher today because the cars are not loose and sliding around in controlled power slides.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I can understand how this type advertising can power a relatively unknown product to prominent public view (GoDaddy as an example). But never really saw the value for products that have carpet bombed the public with adverts for generations (Coke, McDonalds, Budweiser, etc).

    I’ve always felt much of the “value” of these deals (much like similar NFL “sponsorships”) was to corporate domos who can hang out at the track, schmooze with “celebs” and watch the event in luxury boxes.

  • avatar
    Boff

    All other things being equal, heck yeah I’d pick a product by a motorsports sponsor over one by a non-sponsor.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It certainly helps with selling sports cars like Ferraris, Porsches and Corvettes that compete in their various series. Ferrari wouldn’t be what it is without it’s racing heritage. OTOH, buyers of the Ferrari SUV aren’t likely to care, but perhaps their significant other does.

    Subaru certainly benefits from it’s Rally presence.

    NASCAR fans have their loyalties, and it still carries a wide audience.

    So yes, motorsports do help sell cars, but not for every brand.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m leary of buying any kind of performance/sporty car that does not actually race that car in some form. Of course I violate that rule by driving a TSX Sportwagon, but at least Acura does race thier cars.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ll add to the chorus of “if NASCAR was a stock car.”

    Take out the glass, weld the doors shut, install a roll cage, let’s see who’s family car V6 runs more trouble free for 500 laps at nearly WOT or who’s brakes die the most quickly.

    Once upon a time “Racing Improves the Breed” – not so much today.

    BTW I still covet a Twin H-Power Hudson Hornet. THAT WAS NASCAR!

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Given the kind of vehicles most race fans show up at tracks with, as well as use for DDs, these days, I suspect F150s vs Silverados and Rams would draw a more involved crowd. Settle the whole Hemi vs Small Block vs Ecoboost once and for all…. Or perhaps Honda would demostrate once and for all the handling prowess of the Ridgeline, by passing them all on the inside; sending the rest back to the drawing boards…

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The motorsports I would like to watch are hard to spectate. I can go to the SCCA runoffs at Road America but it is difficult to find the races with production DNA in them.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ll go against the grain and say that I’d much rather watch loud, purpose-built race cars in NASCAR over seeing a showroom Fusion 2.0T or Impala 3.6L or Ridgeline go around a tri-oval.

    Even when NASCAR was running ‘stock cars’ they weren’t tossing out a 352 Galaxie or a regular gas Catalina.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I don’t think that sponsorships influence me, but I will admit that whenever I reach for a cheap beer, I always go for Miller High Life* because of a line by the Mayor from “Do the Right Thing.”

    *The champagne of beers

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    “Has the motorsports marketing machine ever influenced any of your buying decisions?”

    No, because that would require me to watch motorsports first.

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