NASCAR Sponsorship Logos On Cars To Be More Prominently Displayed In '13
NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France on Saturday during his state of the sport address noted that among the "changes to the 2013 car will be the way a sponsor's logo is more prominently displayed ... and how the driver's name will be prominently displayed across the top of the windshield," according to Joe Menzer of NASCAR.com. France said, "We're trying to do things that will build their star power and at the same time have a little continuity for our fans to follow their favorite driver." Menzer noted France also discussed "how a 'digital cockpit' might be coming to Sprint Cup cars as soon as 2014." In reference to a digital cockpit and drivers having smart phones in cars, France said, "Smart devices and smartphones and other devices can have an effect on manipulating the technology that is now going to be in the cars. We have to be careful with that. And so that's why our policy is that you're simply not going to be allowed to take a device into the car with you" (NASCAR.com, 11/17).
NEW LOOK NASCAR: SPEEDTV.com's Mike Hembree noted the new '13 car is "designed to put more emphasis on manufacturer identity, both to satisfy fans and to give car builders better selling points" (SPEEDTV.com, 11/17). In a Q&A with NASCAR.com's David Caraviello, France said, "We still have the sponsorship part of our business that we are hugely reliant on compared to other major sports leagues. And that hasn't gotten particularly easier with the economy continuing to sputter along, and companies being careful and cautious about making sizable marketing bets. So the teams in the sport continue to feel that. But the other things are starting to come (around) -- television, the new car, things we're doing as an industry to take advantage of social and digital media, and a variety of other things. You can see around the corner, that this sport will be in very good shape down the road." When asked about the sponsorship situation being cyclical, France said, "We've had recessions before, but this has been different. I think each race team would tell you it's been different. And different means harder, longer to come back from. But we're still the only place where your brand can be on the playing field, and it's your team, with a huge fan base" (NASCAR.com, 11/18).
CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS: ESPN.com's David Newton noted NASCAR fined '12 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski $25,000 following the Nov. 11 race at Phoenix Int'l Raceway for carrying his phone in the car, but failed to do so when he tweeted during a red-flag earlier in the year at the Daytona 500. However, France did not believe that NASCAR "was hypocritical in fining Keselowski" last week. France said the rule of drivers not carrying phones in their cars, "didn't change a bit. It evolved. That was the first time at Daytona that we had seen somebody in real time tweeting during a red flag at that point. We love that. We just know now that we have things in the car that could be affected by devices." France: "We immediately loved the idea, loved the attention that brought to the sport. (We) encourage it but have to balance it in the competition end to make sure nobody gains an advantage." (ESPN.com, 11/17).