Precarious NASCAR sponsorships
Richard Childress Racing runs 3 cars in the Nextel Cup series. All 3 have big bucks behind them from sponsors who expect maximum exposure at the track and on tv. The 07 Jack Daniel's car came on board as soon as NASCAR rescinded the ban on hard alcohol sponsors (that was only last year). The 31 Cingular car was already a sponsor when Nextel became the title sponsor of the series, but w/ the Cingular and AT&T merger they can't change the car to be sponsored by AT&T even though that will be the new company's name. And even Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick in the 29 Shell/Pennzoil car has to de-emphasize the Shell portion of his logo so as not to upset the official gasoline of NASCAR Sunoco. The unofficial cost to be the primary sponsor of a car is 10 to 20 million a year. I'd imagine getting 3 sponsors to pony up that kind of dough takes long hours of wining and dining, so replacing one can't be a spur of the moment thing. NASCAR claims that these things are between the owners and the sponsors, but all 3 cars in this organization are at the mercy of what NASCAR will and won't allow (no hard liquor, no mergers and acquisitions, and no gas from that giant Dutch conglomerate). There is one way to get NASCAR on their side. Jack, AT&T, and Shell need to buy plenty of commercial time during the races and NASCAR will go back to its "owners are independent operators" stance and therefore free to use any sponsor who will pay the bills.