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Veterans possibly to blame for NASCAR’s focus on young drivers

Kyle Busch isn’t a fan of NASCAR basing its marketing on primarily its young up-and-comers, and the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR (then-Sprint) Cup champion didn’t mince words on the subject during his media availability during the yearly Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday.

“I think it’s stupid,” were Busch’s exact words.

“We’ve paid our dues and our sponsors have, and all you’re doing is advertising all these younger guys for fans to figure out and pick up on and choose as their favorite driver. Some of these marketing campaigns, pushing these younger drivers, I would say is not all that fair,” Busch went on to say.

I think he has a point, but before I delve deeper into this subject, I want to point out that one of those up-and-comers, Ryan Blaney, says the reason NASCAR marketing is focusing on the young drivers is because the up-and-comers make themselves more available and are more willing than their veteran counterparts to participate in NASCAR’s marketing campaigns.

“I feel like if some drivers were more willing to do these things, they’d get asked more to do it,” Blaney said. “And the reason why I get asked to do it a lot is because I say yes a lot, because I think it’s good for the sport and myself. I can tell you personally, (Busch) doesn’t like doing a lot of stuff, so they don’t ask him.”

I have to admit, after hearing Blaney’s defense of NASCAR’s marketing arm, I kind of see this issue in a different light, especially since Busch admitted that these younger drivers have been more available to participate in these marking projects.

“Probably, the younger guys are bullied into doing more things than the older guys are, because we say no a lot more because we’ve been there, done that and have families, things like that, and want to spend as much time as we can at home,” Busch said. “You know, maybe that’s some of it. But you know; some of these marketing campaigns and things like that, pushing these younger drivers, is I wouldn’t say all that fair.”

Ideally, I think these marketing campaigns should use a variety of drivers. Sure, there should be a part of the campaign that promotes the influx of “young blood” in the sport, given big turnover recently, from the retirements of drivers like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth to the arrival of the likes of Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Chase Elliott, Blaney and others. But there is big marketing potential in at least some of the veterans. Heck, Jimmie Johnson could make NASCAR history any season now with an eighth championship. Meanwhile, Busch is fewer than 20 wins away from the 200-win mark across all three of NASCAR’s national series, a mark surpassed only by NASCAR legend Richard Petty.

But all these veterans drivers doing it to themselves? By it, I’m referring to being shut out of NASCAR’s big marketing campaigns. I agreed with Busch, which I don’t always do, when I heard his original comments on the matter, but once I heard Blaney’s reasoning and Busch’s admission that the veteran drivers don’t make themselves available for such marketing campaigns as much as the younger drivers, I have to think that maybe the veterans have only themselves to blame.

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Posted by on January 24, 2018. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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