I’ve been struck by some events recently that speak to the concept of “loyalty”. Now, loyalty is defined in part as “faithfulness to commitment” and in this political year, various candidates’ loyalty to party, principle, or country will be repeatedly attacked. Yet, in NASCAR we’ve witnessed what “loyalty” is about. Let me explain my thesis.
Tony Stewart decided, and in part I agree with his decision, to leave the owner and team that gave him the opportunity to be the driver in NASCAR that he is. He had an opportunity to “go on his own” (and I predicted he would) because of the opportunity. Violation of “loyalty”? Not hardly. And Tony asked Ryan Newman to join him, which he did. Violation of “loyalty”? Again, not guilty. Both had opportunities to “move on” (as we’re so fond of saying.)
Now comes my point—Joe Gibbs Racing showed its loyalty and commitment to an 18-year old (Joey Logano, in case you haven’t been following). Joe Gibbs is probably one of, if not the most, upstanding owner in NASCAR circles. His willingness to take on, first, Denny Hamlin (not a really proven entity) and then Kyle Busch (with his baggage) and turning them both into winners shows how smart he is. And he’ll continue to support them—spell that “l-o-y-a-l-t-y” as they continue to develop.
And add Greg Zipadelli to that list of loyalists! He didn’t run off with Tony but stayed with JGR and Logano. He even believes that Joey has a chance to make the Chase next year—and his efforts will reflect his loyalty to Logano and JGR!
And finally, congratulations to Home Depot for hanging in with JGR during this uncertain change in drivers. Frank Bifulco, senior VP for HD, indicated that there was serious discussion about whether to go with Joey, but in the long run Home Depot showed its “loyalty” to Joe Gibbs Racing by accepting JGR’s decision to put Joey in the #20. “Loyalty”—in sports it seems that that term is spelled in dollars most of the time. This week we found out what it really means. And given the political times, I certainly wish some politicians would reflect on that word.
And that’s the view from here.