Every time I watch ESPN’s SportsCenter they feel compelled to run coverage of the latest NASCAR race. Now, I know NASCAR is a huge social phenomenon south of the Mason-Dixon Line and that corporate marketers everywhere think it’s the next "cool" way to spend their money, but what’s with all the fights and temper tantrums that accompany every friggin’ NASCAR race?
It seems like every video clip of a checkered flag is also accompanied by the spectre of some pissed off good ol’ boy driver punching out another one, or kicking the living bejesus out of the fender of a car that had cut him off during the race. What, exactly, do the driver hysterics add to the overall NASCAR experience? Are there not enough spectacular crashes and deaths to sate the average fan? Have the drivers decided amongst themselves to add an additional dimension to the so-called sport?
Rather than turn a blind eye to such nonsense, why doesn’t the NASCAR hierarchy, instead, embrace the drivers’ boorishness and leverage its intrinsic marketing potential?
I can just see The Home Depot, Valvoline, Tide Laundry Detergent or some other mega sponsor throwing millions of dollars into a "Friday night fights at the Talledega 500." Just imagine: after yet another incredibly boring race, NASCAR fans could stick around to watch various drivers lace on boxing gloves and step into an infield "ring" where they could take out any pent-up hostilities and follow the Marquis of Queensbury’s rules instead of their own. Each winner would be given additional "points" towards an eventual NASCAR championship.
But, why stop there? NASCAR could further flex its marketing muscle by embarking on a series of co-branded promotions with like-minded organizations. How about buddying up with Glock to provide drivers with 9mm semi-automatic weapons they could use on one another during the race? Or, how about Lowe’s stepping up and providing the drivers with nails and tacks that they could hurl onto the track whenever their road rage exceeds the speed limit?
There are just so many potential opportunities for NASCAR to really make the most of its "Battling Billy Bobs." And, speaking of bats, how about a co-brand with Hillerich & Bradsby, maker of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat? All I can say is, "gentlemen start your engines (and your swinging).