DODGE LEAVING SPRINT CUP AND NATIONWIDE SERIES IN 2013

After being absent from NASCAR for over a quarter century, Dodge came back to NASCAR in 2001. However Dodge is making this 2012 season its last in both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.

Dodge’s departure from the two series leaves only three car manufacturers participating: Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota. Toyota is, of course, the most recent manufacturer to join NASCAR but was greeted with much controversy from fans because it was the first foreign car manufacturer to be allowed to join NASCAR. With the departure of Dodge, NASCAR now only has two American manufacturers and many fans are wondering if the exit of Dodge leaves a vacancy for a second foreign manufacture to enter.

There is a silver lining to this story since Brad Keselowski, a Dodge driver, is first (as of this entry) in the Chase, and has the opportunity to send Dodge packing with a Sprint Cup Championship. SF

NASCAR–fulfilling its role in CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) has become an integral part of business world now as huge corporations and even smaller businesses are now looked upon to show their commitment to their communities. NASCAR is not lagging behind in fulfilling its role of Corporate Social Responsibility. For example, the NASCAR Foundation came into being in 2006 and has been involved in charitable causes since its inception through different programs and with the help of various non-profit sponsorships. One of its emphasis has been on initiatives to help children to live, learn and play.

This time NASCAR has come up with the Coca Cola Chase for Charity Program in collaboration with its sponsor, the Coca Cola Company. This program involves auction of collectibles, autographed items from race tracks and Victory Lane, and drivers’ and teams’ personal collections. And since this auction is combined with a noble cause of charity, it has doubled the attachment of fans to this effort. This auction will conclude on December 3. I see this action plan of NASCAR executed at just the right time, when the audience is declining and reduction in viewership is occurring. It is a great way to attract fans in two ways, one by creating excitement of getting NASCAR related collectibles through auction and another by touching fans emotionally through this cause of being charitable.

Besides the NASCAR Foundation there are two more projects NASCAR is carrying forward in betterment of the NASCAR community. One is a “Green initiative” to reduce the environmental footprint of NASCAR and the other one is “Drive for Diversity” to increase minority and female participation in the sport. These efforts of NASCAR towards the good of the whole nation positions NASCAR distinctively in the minds of its viewers and fans. I, being fan of NASCAR, really appreciate the ways it is playing its role in CSR. I believe when our favorites come up with such good causes, the fans feel proud and the loyalty towards that brand increases. The current efforts of NASCAR towards the well being of community is once again making its hardcore fans feel immense pleasure in being associated with this sport and it may also help NASCAR regain some of the lost viewership and attendance. FA

NASCAR Diversity Programs

Diversity is one of the biggest issues facing NASCAR today. The sport is seen as a predominately white American sport, but I believe it is starting to change for the better. There are many different diversity programs in many areas that people rarely hear about. Some teams like Joe Gibbs Racing even have their own diversity programs. NASCAR itself has a diversity internship program that provides twelve internships for minorities and women in everything from business to engineering to technical positions. NASCAR’s primary diversity program is the Drive for Diversity. Drive for Diversity is the industry’s leading development program for minority and female drivers and crew members. The Drive for Diversity program currently supports drivers in two of NASCAR’s developmental series. Drive for Diversity also supports crew member candidates through a year-long pit crew training program. NASCAR more recently aired a show on BET, Changing Lanes. I tuned in and watched a couple episodes and was entirely impressed. It really tells a great story about these young drivers and what they really have to go through to compete at the highest levels of stock-car racing. Through the efforts of the sanctioning body and select teams, diversity is a word that is finally getting the attention it deserves in NASCAR. RI

The Year of the Kyle

According to some texts, “Kyle” as a name has roots in old Scotland and can mean “fair and handsome”. So while many boo birds have difficulty warming to Mr.Busch, we do know that he is certainly adding a fair and handsome amount of value to not only himself, but to his owners, and sponsors.

If others aren’t careful this could be a runaway year for M&M’s. After all “Dale” means valley and well, what does “Kasey” mean?

That’s the (abbreviated) View from Here

Michael

WILL THE CofT COME OFF THE NASCAR ASSEMBLY LINE?

Well, I finished Mark Yost’s “The 200 MPH Billboard: The Inside Story on How Big Money Changed NASCAR” over the weekend. It was a very good “read” and put me onto several topics that I want to investigate further. Mr. Yost closed his book with an epilogue, “What’s Next for NASCAR?” Some of his observations were off. For example, he suggested that the company taking over the former Busch series could be expected to pay three to four times more than Anheuser-Busch did and we all know that wasn’t the case. Still, he raises some interesting topics.

One that struck me was that he saw NASCAR eventually building the Car of Tomorrow and selling it to the different teams. In that way, NASCAR accomplishes two important objectives: (1) make sure all the cars are the same so that no team has an advantage and (2) make MORE MONEY! NASCAR “owns” a great deal in the sport, including TV rights, merchandising rights for NASCAR merchandise, and even NASCAR Images, which controls photography and film. So, why not own the cars and have rights for building and selling them to teams? Seems like a possibility “down the road”.

And, in case you missed it (and that would be hard to believe), a former black female NASCAR official has filed a $250 million lawsuit for racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination. If, as they say, “perception is reality,” this will be a major blow to NASCAR’s drive for diversity.

And that’s the view from here.

Jon