You know those cute ATT commercials about the miscommunications when calls are dropped? It's starting to look like NEXTEL is the one doing all the dropping. When they signed on to be the title sponsor the the NASCAR Cup Series, there were already a few major players in car sponsorship, particularly Alltell and Cingular.
This year, ATT and Cingular merged, so naturally one would expect the car sponsorship on the Richard Childress owned 31 car, driven by Jeff Burton, to switch to ATT. That would have been the obvious, polite and normal expectation. NASCAR, as usual, had other ideas and stepped in to 'protect' it's new multi-million dollar title sponsor. Apparently, they don't see an anomaly in NEXTEL's change to Sprint next season and why everyone else is confused as to why it's OK for NEXTEL to change a name brand with a sponsor's merge, but it's NOT OK for Cingular to change to ATT when those two companies merged earlier this year.
If NEXTEL thinks that this suit is making fans of their product, they might do well to reconsider this PR blunder. All that this tells this race fan is that they are two-faced, petty, insecure, do not respect an owner who has been a respected mainstay in this sport for over 30 years, and that they are definitely NOT the product for me. I just got a new Cingular phone; this is certainly not making me think that NEXTEL is the better product. Just the more obnoxious, pushier, insecure and pathetic one.
NASCAR claimed that the telephone carriers who were sponsors were grandfathered in when NEXTEL bought the naming rights to the Cup Series after Winston left. Now they are arguing that this does not, ahem, include name changes with business mergers...oh, wait...then where does that leave Sprint? Race fans are so tired of the two-facedness of NA$CAR. Wouldn't it be nice if they could play nice just this once? A competitor and a series sponsor are two diffenent things. It begs the question: Doesn't Brian France have enough money yet to retire and buy that NFL team he wants for the west coast?