From The Associated Press :
NASCAR returned to its roots Wednesday by lifting a ban on liquor ads on cars, opening the door for teams to be sponsored next season by distilled spirits.
“We felt the time was right,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said. “Attitudes have changed, and spirits companies have a long record of responsible advertising.”
NASCAR already allowed beer and malt liquor sponsorships. Budweiser sponsors Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car, for example, and Busch sponsors a lower-tier racing series.
But NASCAR restricted what liquor companies could do since the sport’s modern era began in 1972, most recently denying a bid from Roush Racing in June to put a liquor company on the car that Jeff Burton drove. International Speedway Corp., a sister company also controlled by NASCAR’s founding France family, has agreements with Crown Royal, however.
Diageo, a British liquor company that was already an associate sponsor for Matt Kenseth with its Smirnoff ICE malt beverage, immediately announced Wednesday that its Crown Royal distilled whiskey will be the sponsor on another Roush car next season.
“Our association with this world-class racing team will allow us to connect with millions of adult consumers, who are devoted NASCAR fans, and remind them about the importance of responsible drinking,” Diageo spokesman Mark Waller said. “A multimillion dollar marketing budget supporting this sponsorship will include dedicated social responsibility messaging.”
NASCAR has been trying to shed its image as a sport that traces its roots to good ol’ boys running moonshine through the hills of Georgia and the Carolinas.
I find nothing objectionable about NASCAR’s association with hard liquor. Watching sedan cars go around and around in a circle for hours is hard work and anything that can be done to make it more interesting cannot be bad.