Monster Energy will return as NASCAR Cup series entitlement sponsor for the 2019 season but it appears next year will be the final one that sees the sanctioning body’s premier program branded as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR made the announcement of the contract extension via press release Tuesday. It is a one-year agreement (the current arrangement was set to end this year) and according to reports, officials don’t anticipate an extension of the extension.
The pullout after ’19 doesn’t bode well for activation next year – companies typically tend to pull back rather than increase participation when heading for the exit.
NASCAR’s top series has carried sponsorship since 1971 when RJ Reynolds first came on board.
Both Monster and NASCAR have indicated at one time or another that the sponsorship arrangement has been a plus – NASCAR covets the younger audience Monster Energy currently enjoys while the energy drink company seeks the constant national exposure provided by the sanctioning body.
From the beginning of the relationship, Monster’s pitch has been that it is more than a sponsor, it’s a lifestyle (a variation of its earlier ‘lifestyle in a can’ pitch.). Perhaps that lifestyle no longer aligns with NASCAR. Or not to the extent some had hoped.
If NASCAR chooses to go a different route, which appears to be the case, then there could be no series entitlement sponsor after ’19. Much like other professional sports leagues such as the NFL and Major League Baseball.
In addition to series sponsorship, Monster also sponsors the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team with driver Kurt Busch.
• The issue of those problematic pit guns resurfaced last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and we have reached the point where the only way to correct the problem is to issue lug wrenches before every race.
Hey, if it was good enough for Red and Buck and Lee and the rest of the boys …
• NASCAR erred when officials failed to penalize the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team for an errant tire at TMS and while it is extremely difficult to officiate a race, admitting the miscue afterward won’t do a lot to make some folks feel better.
Everyone realizes that the occasional mistake will occur. But it isn’t supposed to – that’s why there are officials in the tower and in the PRO trailer and on pit road.
The perception, right or wrong, is that officials cut the team a break. And that’s a hard thing to overcome.
• Ford and Chevrolet teams have each had 10 drivers lead at least one lap through the first seven Cup races. The difference? Ford drivers have combined to lead 1,236 laps to just 137 for Chevrolet.
Meanwhile four Toyota drivers have spent time out front – leading 772 laps.