NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez will need a new sponsor for the Oct. 15 race at Talladega Superspeedway after sandwich chain Subway pulled out of a four-race sponsorship, stating “due to circumstances beyond our control” that it “had to terminate” the deal.
What were those circumstances?
Suarez handing out Dunkin’ Donuts from a golf cart in an NBC TV segment.
The video, made with with Rutledge Wood near New Hampshire Motor Speedway ahead of the July 16 Cup race there, provided a reason for the sandwich chain to end the deal with Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 team with one race left, according to several sources, including Fox News.
Because Subway also sells breakfast items, the sandwich maker sees Dunkin’ as a competitor.
Team owner Joe Gibbs confirmed that the video, which aired in July, was the reason behind Subway’s move, according to NESN’s Pat McAssey.
“It’s a surprise because we only heard about it (Saturday),” Gibbs told NESN, which described the video as “lighthearted,” earlier this week.
The move also caught Suarez off guard. The Cup Series rookie told NASCAR writer Jeff Gluck over the weekend that he didn’t know why Subway had pulled its sponsorship.
“On a race weekend, I don’t really have time to think about that,” Suarez told Gluck. “I have to think about the race.”
Suarez took over the No. 19 team this year after Carl Edwards retired. Subway had sponsored Edwards before signing with Suarez.
Subway’s breakfast menu does not include doughnuts but consists primarily of four flatbread sandwiches. All four feature cheese and eggs with or without a thin slice of red meat. The Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast lineup includes one “Veggie Egg White Flatbread” sandwich.
So, there is overlap between the two chains’ breakfast offerings.
Still, Suarez’ transgression hardly presents circumstances beyond Subway’s ability to forgive and move on for one race.
That is what others in the industry, including driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., believe also.
Jalopnik’s Stef Schrader compiled fan backlash against Subway. Many felt Subway’s logic was half-baked.
Apparently seeing a racecar driver hand out doughnuts was far less likely to keep them out of a Subway restaurant than the sandwich chain backing out of a deal with that driver.
As the Cup Series’ only Mexican-born driver, Suarez likely was helping to broaden NASCAR’s appeal – and probably Subway’s by extension. Now the chain appears to have upset many potential customers over the sponsorship for a single race.
The video is no longer available on NBC NASCAR’s social media pages and seems to have disappeared from the Internet, according to Jalopnik’s Alanis King. Even if it had remained, who would remember it now if Subway had just let it go?
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