Kenseth's Low-Key Personality May Be A Reason For Lack Of Season-Long Sponsorship
NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 for the second time in four years Monday night, but his "low-key demeanor ... might explain why sponsors are not banging down his car door,” according to Randy Covitz of the K.C. STAR. Best Buy served as the primary sponsor of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford for the Daytona 500 “as part of a nine-race package, but that leaves 27 races without major funding.” Kenseth said, “Maybe there’s something I’m not doing right or saying right or whatever. I’ve been in the sport for quite a while. I’ve always just tried to be myself and never really change for anybody. I don’t think that’s really been a bad thing. I’m pretty much a face-value guy.” He added, “I hoped that the way our performance was last year, it would have been a little easier for the sales department to fully sponsor the car.” Former Nationwide Series team Owner Rusty Wallace said, “It depends on what kind of product they’re trying to sell. There are a whole bunch of nice people out there. But Kyle Busch and Kurt are … cussing, going nuts. … (Sponsors) love that. … That’s what they want. They didn’t want the nice guy” (K.C. STAR, 3/1). In Phoenix, Michael Knight reports Zest soap has “signed on for four events and Valvoline one,” but that still leaves Kenseth “unfunded for more than half the 36-race season.” Owner Jack Roush said that he will “field the car nonetheless.” Kenseth: "There's not a lot else we can do from a performance standpoint." Meanwhile, Knight notes Best Buy switching its sponsorship from Richard Petty Motorsports and driver A.J. Allmendinger to Kenseth before the start of the season “looks like sports marketing genius" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/1). Kenseth added of the sponsor search, “The sales department wants me to give a pitch, but if they want me to give a pitch, maybe they should come and drive a car, right? So we’re doing all we can do from a performance standpoint and it’s up to them to go out and sell some sponsorship for these cars” (“Inside NASCAR,” Showtime, 2/29).
GAS GUZZLERS: Kenseth appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” last night, and host Jay Leno introduced Kenseth by saying, “I was going to do some of those Rodney-style gas jokes. You know, ‘Gas is so high ...’ I love doing a bunch of those. I figured why not bring out someone who really knows the price of a gallon of gas.” Leno: “Now, how high are gas prices?” Kenseth: “Gas prices are rising faster than the split in Angelina Jolie’s dress. ... Gas prices are so high, Kim Kardashian dumped an NFL player for a Chevron dealer. ... Gas prices are so high, on road trips when kids act up in the back seat, dads can't afford to turn the car around and go back home anymore. ... Gas prices are so high, Mitt Romney’s wife can only afford to drive one Cadillac. ... After Tim Tebow filled up his gas tank, he dropped to both knees" (“The Tonight Show,” NBC, 2/29).