How To Scare Away Sponsors; and Danica Patrick

I always feel bad for the folks who service sponsors this time of year (the account managers, the business development executives etc.). It’s not that they are having to gear up to look for sponsors (they’re always doing this), or that they are having to explain their team’s less than stellar performances (it happens); no I feel bad for them because they have to explain all the Silly Season rumors to skittish sponsors.

I thought about this, this past week as Michael Waltrip Racing picked up Martin Truex Jr. from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. With Truex’s departure a lot of the talking heads were questioning the stability and the future of EGR going forward. TC talked about this the other day and I’m frankly of the same opinion. That’s neither here nor there though.

Over at EGR they are working on and/or have sponsorship for the #8 car for the remainder of the season. If said sponsor reads any of the mainstream media in the sport and rethinks their deal, they could very easily move elsewhere or move on (bad news for EGR right?).

It can’t be fun trying to lock down sponsorship for this season and next and having to explain to a potential sponsor that you really are not going down the toilet. Don’t forget you’re dealing with very demanding executives whose companies are putting millions of dollars into your organization (stability is important).

In an era when the sponsorship market is more competitive than at any other time in the sport’s history any little thing can turn a sponsor off an organization. And if they’re turned off of your organization they will almost certainly head to your competition, something no team can afford right now.

Some Thoughts on Danica Patrick at Stewart Haas

It is never wise to say never, so I’ll refrain from doing that. But if my suspicions are correct, the incredibly public appearance of Danica Patrick at Stewart Haas on Monday is little more than posturing.

High profile visits and meetings between team owners, management and prospective drivers are seldom done in public locations in the middle of the day. Shop tours are given outside of business hours and meetings are likely to be done in discreet locations. It doesn’t do anyone any favors if the whole world is breathing down their neck on a deal.

However if you’re Danica Patrick and you’re looking for instant media coverage and furthered speculation about your plans, showing up to a well trafficked NASCAR shop in the middle of the day is a good way to get what you seek.

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23 Responses to “How To Scare Away Sponsors; and Danica Patrick”

  1. Kevin says:

    Spot on Journo – with both points.

    In re Danica (with no disrespect to your coverage/commentating here…), I am very weary of reading about her antics and simply wish she’d get on with her day job – racing.

  2. Neon says:

    Stewart is no dummy. Just like Letterman and Andretti-Green did. The money that comes along w/ DP can fund more than just her ride alone. It’s a matter of how long they could put up w/ her antics in exchange for $ return. From what I read about Johanna Long in your links from yesterday, SH racing would surely be doing them selves a long term favor contracting JL with true stock car ladder experience.
    DP = short term income vs JL = a true long term investment

  3. chubdubblub says:

    “DP = short term income vs JL = a true long term investment”

    And in this world of instant gratification, instant results and a poor economy, most teams would pick DP over the up-and-coming JL.
    Not saying its a good or bad thing..I’m just sayin’

    I, for one, would like to see DP get in a stock car to see what she could do with it. Could be a success or an experiment gone bad.

    NASCAR needs a shake up…DP would definitely do that!

  4. steven says:

    it’s a pleasure to read a common sense analysis of exactly what the writer described. posturing. there is no way in hell that danica could be competitive in nascar. no doubt also that stewart is smarter than other media speculation.

  5. Zieke says:

    No disrespect to Danica, however I can’t believe anyone can wait as long as it will take for her to learn to be competitive in a cup car. Indycar series needs her far more than NASCAR anyway. They would be idiots to let her get away.

  6. knobcreekfan says:

    I doubt at this point “the sisters” allow any money to go from the family to Danica. And AGR is not going to spend anymore on her than they can get in sponsor dollars. So while IRL needs her, it will be interesting to see if anybody steps up to pay for her.

    I think her attitude has calmed down over the last year or so. She may not be as calm, cool & collected as Kenseth or Martin, but she has calmed down. Besides, NASCAR could use some emotion from time to time.

    I do think it would take her some time to adjust to the stock cars, but I do think she has some decent talent. She is running better than her teammates at AGR.. Kanaan is no slouch but AGR is not what they were a couple of years ago…and definitely not what they weer in 2003/04/05. They are really missing Dario’s feedback and the team chemistry that had is long gone.

    If she can get with in the Hendrick empire with some good drivers to coach her that is the ideal. Dario did not have much of a real chance. His team was not well funded team and TCGR’s senior driver was Montoya. You had 4 drivers all trying to figure out what the cars were doing, how to drive them and how to make them better.

  7. Doug in CA says:

    I noticed that Patrick is in 5th place in the IRL standings, trailing only superteams Penske and Ganassi. I’d like to see her give it a shot, but think that if she really wants to succeed in NASCAR, she needs at least one full year in ARCA or Busch or trucks or some combination. Going straight to Cup might make lots of money fast, but not guarantee success. As far as “attitude,” she’s what, 24? How many people are accusing Kyle Busch of excessive maturity?

    I’m really glad I found this site. Great stuff, not only from you hosts, but also from the folks posting. Thanks.

  8. knobcreekfan says:

    Journo – yes, stability is important. To a large extent that is why you see the “rich get richer.” For small/new teams, there is a “chicken or the egg” problem. It is difficult to get sponsors to commit when you do not have a driver locked down. Clearly, they want to know “what” they are sponsoring. But, it is difficult to get a driver locked down when you do not have a sponsor committed. They want to know they WILL be employed, WILL drive and WILL get paid.

  9. Tom in TN says:

    I keep thinking back to what she said about NASCAR last time she was in a contract year. I remember she expressed she had no desire to race a such a heavy car 36 time a year.

  10. Mike in Tennessee says:

    Danica to NA$car? It will never happen. She is doing the same thing she did last time. Getting someone at the IRL to open up the bank. You heard it here first, Danica to Penske. She wants to win again in IRL bad and wants to be first woman to win Indy 500, who wins 75-80% of the IRL races? Penske and Ganassi. Who has won the most Indy 500′s? Penske. Who has a legit Cup operation if she should want to try Nascar? Penske.

  11. Tom in TN says:

    RE # 2 and 3

    If JL mean Jason Leffler I dont see what makes anyone think he would do better now in cup than he did in his last 65 starts.

  12. West Coast Kenny says:

    Journo,

    Regarding sponsorship, I see Kevin Harvick has asked out of his contract with Childress. If he leaves, it’s reported that Shell would go with him.

    Boy, that’s a huge hit.

    West Coast Kenny
    Alameda, California

  13. rain says:

    I hope this is simply pandering to the media. She is not that talented. Sam Hornish and Dario both won championships. Sam is not doing great (but you can always count on him for a late lap caution) and Dario, well….If she comes, it will be about money and nothing else. If she were unattractive, she wouldn’t be where she is today. I don’t care about her personality…we need more color in the sport, but let’s try and balance some talent.

  14. Greg says:

    She is going to move enough merch to cover the entire cost of running her team, plus some.

    It is a win-win for whatever owner she chooses to drive for.
    If she picks a full team, they will dump someone to get her
    a seat.

  15. marc says:

    Kevin – Danica’s “antics?”

    Most reports had Stewart offering the invite to her for the shop tour, which raises the obvious question. Was it Danica’s or Smoke’s “antics?”

    Kevin, MeThinks your anti-Danica bias is hanging out.

    Doug in CA – Spot-on. AGR for whatever reason just isn’t up to the standards set by Penske or Ganassi this year or last and facts do indicate she’s the best of the AGR drivers at this point in the season.

    As for her move to NASCAR, I’ll stick with what I’ve said all along, she stays where she is with the goal of winning at Indy.

    That said, the rumored move to Ganassi’s IRL team makes the most sense. She shifts to one of the two top IRL teams, and she might, I repeat might, have the chance to dip a tow in the waters of NASCAR via his NASCAR operation on a part-time basis.

  16. D Jones says:

    Every year around this time, Danica is visiting or talking to CUP teams. I honestly think it’s a ploy on her part.

    If she were serious about driving stock cars. wouldn’t we have heard about her testing with some CUP team? Why hasn’t she been put in a ride in an ARCA race for instance, just for giggles?

    She’s staying in the IRL. Lord knows we have enough divas in NASCAR.

    BTW, this is a woman’s point of view.

  17. knobcreekfan says:

    D Jones – “If she were serious about driving stock cars. wouldn’t we have heard about her testing with some CUP team?”

    I have not seen her contract with AGR, but in the past they had provisions where the drivers could not drive/test anything AGR did not approve. Since they do not want her to go to NASCAR, I am sure they will not approve her testing a cup car.

  18. Neon says:

    #11 Tom in TN: JL = Johanna Long
    #15 Marc: Agreed….Ganassi makes most sense in taking DP. Chip is much more likely to look at income $ generated w/ DP than Penske. Roger doesn’t need the $ and has a stable of proven talent in Helio, Briscoe and Power.
    #7 Doug in CA: I’ll give DP credit for following team strategy after her misques. But, if you break down the races that she faired well in, it is always due to a revised strategy as a result of her altercations or poor restarts that forced the team to go with an out-of-sequence game plan. Never up front on all out speed or straight up race strategy.

  19. Tom in TN says:

    #18 Thanks, I even read the story here about JL, but it never clicked..Thanks for the info…

  20. Dennis Miller says:

    With Nascar in a slump with a crapie out look for the future , it would seem that Nascar would have some behind the scene prodding in have a top team sign this hott young sweetie, no offence Danica, but you are one hot lady that can get it done on the track ! What a match, driving for SHR , i’am sure she’d still have an offer to drive in the INDY 500. Look out JR , she’s gona blow you away in merchdise sale’s and the way you’ve been doing this year , she’ll probable put you to shame on the track ! I’ve all ready started pull’n for Tony & Ryan, it would not be that hard to pull for her ! Oh by the way KB does look like a ditch rat and i’d love to have the job stuffing him back in those nationwide car’s he like’s to leave on the track ! I’d do it for FREE !

  21. Nancy says:

    I hope that in the future Danica goes with SHR. Tony would be a great mentor. She sure can bring the crowd and sponsors with her, it will be interesting to see when it happens.

  22. Jeff says:

    Let’s not forget that Tony Stewart made the same transition that Danica may be considering. And Smoke never achieved the success he now enjoys until he made the move. I say she may do limited schedules in both types of cars before making the leap. She would certainly bring some glamour to NASCAR and, hopefully, re-energize the sport a little. Don’t underestimate her; I’m sure there are those who never thought Ashely Force would have the impact on drag racing that she has. She has helped raise the level of competition and opened the door for more women to not only participate but be competitors.

  23. Journo says:

    Jeff- Tony had three wins, ten top-fives, thirteen top-tens, eight poles, and a championship in the IRL. He did that in just three full seasons (given more time there he certainly could have done a lot more). The fact is Danica has not had the success of Tony, Juan Pablo or Sam. She is a middling IndyCar driver who certainly has potential but has not had the success of her counterparts…yet. Personally I take the Chip Ganassi line; she needs to achieve in the IndyCar Series, where she is very close to being very good, and then consider making a move.

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