Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another Sponsor Snit For RCR

Richard Childress continues to hope for an agreement to maintain the sponsorship on his Jeff Burton-driven #31 Nextel Cup Chevrolet, after current sponsor Cingular Wireless is rebranded as AT&T later this season. Now, Childress has a second sponsor conflict to deal with; this one pitting Shell Oil Company – new co-sponsors of Kevin Harvick’s Daytona 500-winning Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet – against Sunoco, the Official Fuel Supplier of NASCAR.

During SpeedWeeks at Daytona International Speedway, Sunoco officials complained bitterly about the Shell-Pennzoil branding on Harvick's uniform and helmet, saying their status as the Official Fuel of NASCAR precludes involvement by other fuel suppliers. Shell-Pennzoil sidestepped that restriction by agreeing to promote only their automotive lubricants – instead of gasoline – on Harvick’s car, but Sunoco officials contended that the distinction was murky, at best. After a number of complaints following Harvick’s NASCAR Busch Series win on Saturday – a win that saw him appear in Victory Lane wearing his Shell-Pennzoil firesuit when an AutoZone-logoed suit could not be finished in time -- NASCAR reportedly asked Harvick to wear a jacket over his uniform during driver introductions leading up to the Daytona 500,

He agreed, but in-car footage during the race included a number of the Shell logos prominently displayed in the car, and on Harvick’s helmet and uniform. It should be noted, however, that directly below the main logo on Harvick’s helmet were the words “Super Duty;” a direct reference to Shell’s line of heavy duty lubricants. Despite that distinction, Sunoco officials were less than pleased when newspapers across the country featured Victory Lane photos of Harvick, complete with prominent Shell branding.

Sources now say that changes will be made in time for this weekend’s race at California Speedway. Harvick’s helmet will reportedly be repainted and his driving uniform reworked to include smaller, less-conspicuous Shell logos.

Sunoco is in the fifth year of a 10-year contract to serve as official fuel supplier for NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, an agreement spokesman Ramsey Poston said the sanctioning body takes seriously. "In exchange for providing a quality product for all three series, Sunoco was granted exclusivity in the fuel category at the track," said Poston said this week. "We're always trying to work with our sponsors and teams to navigate through any challenges, especially in the automotive lubricant category, which is closely aligned with fuel."


  1. man...where does it end?!! okay...sunoco spends x amount of dollars to be the exclusive gas of nascar but turns around and charges the teams for the they make some of their money back, right? just take a chill pill! and as for cingular/alltell, a sponsor is a sponsor..i understand nextel's view, so maybe nextel could charge them a little extra? but yet show that they're good sports and FAIR...jmho..enjoy the show-the few minutes i get to hear on my way back from lunch...

  2. Anonymous1:39 AM

    I e-mailed Sunoco and let them know how ridiculous they are! Unocal seemed to live in harmony with Phillips 66, BP, Amoco etc. I think it reflects poorly on the Sunoco brand to be so petty. Hell they dont even give Nascar as much money as Shell does for 1 team. Get over it Sunoco and be sure to wave at me when I drive by your gas stations looking for a shell!

  3. Anonymous9:43 AM

    So how far is NASCAR going to let this go?

    Chevolet has sponsored races in the past, does this mean from now on race weekends sponsored by GM (or any other manufacturer)all race cars entered must be branded by a particular make and model?

    If fans drive something other than a GM product to the races, will they not be allowed to park on speedway grounds?

    Again, the perception is NASCAR's interest are ahead of any concerns for the teams or fans.

  4. Linda, my understanding is that the teams actually get the racing fuel for free if they carry the Sonoco decal on their car. So, while they may be being a little petty with their complaint, they do give a lot to the teams each week!

  5. Anonymous8:12 PM

    My thought on the matter is when K Harvicks COT car with the new Shell paint job was rolled out last year at the press conferance for the new sponsorship why was nothing said then? Sunoco ignored it for 6 months until the Daytona 500? Or are they just now noticing because "Hey that Shell car won the race" ?

  6. thanx jeff..i was not aware of that...i don't know how all the monies are levied out, it would just seem normal for them to charge for the fuel-course, that might be part of the entry fee...oh well...

  7. Anonymous9:44 AM

    l Sunoco supplies free fuel to all Cup, Busch and Truck teams.
    2 All teams MUST submit every paint and uniform scheme to NASCAR for pre-approval.
    3 NASCAR approved the RCR design, failing to protect the exclusivity that NA$CAR has sold to Sunoco.
    4 Look at the 42 Havoline car and Montoya's uniform. It doesnt say "Texaco" anywhere. That's how this is supposed to work.
    5 Teams are allowed to promote motor oil sponsors, not gasoline sponsors. Why is Sunoco to blame?

  8. Anonymous11:54 AM

    This is rediculous. 76 let other gas companies sponosor cars. Heck, 76 even let Sunoco sponsor a car. Remember the old 94 car?

  9. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Sunoco and Nextel are both being extremely petty & childish. Their brands must be inferior since they're so scared of competition. I will *not* buy Sunoco gasoline, absolutely. I'm pleased with my wireless service from Verizon, so that doesn't figure into my planning. But my vehicles need fuel - and it will absolutely, positively *not* be Sunoco because of their immature attitude.

  10. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Yes. This is all very sad and petty. But in a way I can’t blame Sprint/Nextel and Sunoco. Because they pay NA$CAR millions. It all boils down to the point of NA$CAR milking every penny they can out of the sponsors and the fans. Do you remember when Roush was first wanting Crown Royal as a sponsor and NA$CAR said no. then took the money themselves and put it over their front door @ Daytona.

  11. I agree NA$CAR is KILLING NA$CAR

  12. Anonymous10:57 PM

    Sunoco pays 8 million a year for the Official Fuel rights. On top of that they supply the fuel at no cost to all Cup, Busch & Truck teams at race events and test sessions. So by the end of the year the total cost to Sunoco is one of the largest sponsorship deals NASCAR has. They have every right to have exclusive status. Other oil companies can sponsor teams if they only promote lubricants or aviation fuel. Sunoco should be praised more often by the media because you have never heard a driver or team complain the fuel made them lose race. The fuel crews for Sunoco have one of most dangerous jobs in the garage. I'm glad Sunoco is making sure NASCAR has to honor the contract.

  13. Just a quick note, Sunoco makes every effort to use crude from South America and not the Middle East - another reason to prefer Sunoco over others.

  14. Anonymous7:40 AM

    I will never use Sonoco again. They are out of line here.Look out shell me and my family are coming your way.....