I think we can all say with certainty that the NASCAR number placement is being switched from the middle of the door to in front of the right rear wheel well. I don’t like it, a majority of the fan base doesn’t like it, but as everyone knows by now, NASCAR doesn’t care. They believe this to be the direction to go and that’s fine, I’m still going to watch.
My biggest concern is that NASCAR actually believes this is a part to fixing the greater problem, but the issue is this only adds to the problem. Sponsorship is a key issue, but more ad space really doesn’t change anything when it comes to sponsors investing more in race teams. This wrap layout was used at the All-Star race and the extra ad space on the side didn’t accentuate the sponsors to me. There was no real benefit to it besides being able to say your being more accommodating to sponsors.
The truth is, this doesn’t help with the main issue which is the national attention these sponsors crave. Sponsors should be incentivised to be primary sponsors to attach to these drivers and receive national media attention through highlights on TV and through commercials.
One of the funniest sports centered commercials on TV right now is the Denny Hamlin Domino’s ad. That commercial has garnered so much attention for NASCAR, Domino’s, and FedEx and they literally only sponsor a small patch on his elbows.
Why is this such a rarity?
It’s what made NASCAR such a media circus in the ‘90’s, having all these drivers appear in commercials. The colorful and inspired paint schemes mixed with drivers who had real personalities is what made NASCAR great, now we have virtually none of this.
Our most popular driver, Chase Elliott, doesn’t have a marketable personality. He’s a nice guy, but hardly ever shows emotion. It’s the same problem MLB had with their best player in Mike Trout, if this is the guy that we’re supposed to prop up to the rest of the world and say “come watch us because of this guy,” then we’re going to have issues. This could be remedied if the rest of the drivers were fun to watch outside of the cockpit, but NASCAR just doesn’t allow for these drivers to get in front of the camera and speak their mind.
Slightly off topic but not really; hockey let’s players fight all the time without fine. We are a sport that was born from good ol’ boy moonshiners and local dirt tracks where most disputes were settled with fists and now we fine our driver out the butt for even a soft push.
NASCAR needs to let our drivers have an unfiltered personality. That will then make things so much easier for sponsors as well as NASCAR to market. Instead of changing the personality of the car by moving the numbers, change how much personality you allow your drivers to have.
This is the true issue with NASCAR as a whole; the sport, the drivers, the teams, and the cars are not marketable. Moving your numbers does not change any of this, in fact it probably hurts it.