Are NASCAR fans receiving mixed signals when it comes to NASCAR penalties and race marketing? In case you haven’t seen the latest commercial for the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 3, it includes last year’s dust-up between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth. You remember — that dust-up during last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup that resulted in Kenseth’s two-race suspension when his frustration came to a head and he wrecked Logano as payback for an earlier incident when Logano moved Kenseth after Kenseth blocked him.
The commercial has had some fan bloggers crying, “foul.” If Kenseth’s move of retaliation was wrong — and NASCAR ruled it was, as evidenced by the suspension — then why is the incident being celebrated now and used to promote and upcoming event? There are a few reasons why this is okay, but one in particular has become somewhat of a pet peeve of mine.
NASCAR isn’t the entity that produced and put out that Martinsville commercial. NASCAR issued the penalty, while the folks at Martinsville are responsible for the commercial. That explanation isn’t enough for some people, though, so I’ll explain it further.
The naysayers claim that NASCAR owns Martinsville Speedway, confusing NASCAR with International Speedway Corporation. Just because members of the same family — in this case, the France family — own two different businesses, that doesn’t mean that two entities are owned by the same people. In the case of NASCAR and ISC, different members of the France family own (in the case of ISC — majority own) each. Saying NASCAR owns ISC because members of the France family own NASCAR and other members of the France family run ISC would be like saying, “My brother owns roofing company A, while my uncle owns accounting company B.” Does that mean the roofing company owns the accounting company? Of course not. But that’s the logic some fans use when erroneously saying NASCAR owns Martinsville, Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, or any other ISC-owned property.
NASCAR does own Iowa Speedway, but, at least to my knowledge, that’s the sanctioning body’s only foray into track ownership, at this point.
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