Welcome to Nascar’s new sponsored caution flag!

Being an influential member of the auto racing media fraternity (chuckle can be inserted here) I receive hundreds of email press releases each week.  Wednesday of this week one hit my InBox that didn’t seem any different from the thousands I’ve gotten over the years.

The subject line said “ServiceMaster Clean Release.”  The headline when the email was opened also brought no lifting of the eyes.  “ServiceMaster Clean inks multi-year sponsorship deal with ISC and SMI race tracks.”  However, the body of the release left me saying “What the heck is Nascar, ISC, and SMI thinking?” Here are the pertinent lines that got my attention.

service-master-truck-jpegServiceMaster Clean announced today that it has signed a unique partnership agreement to be the first-ever official sponsor of the caution period during races at International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (SMI) race tracks across the nation. When there is a problem on the track, the ServiceMaster Clean Yellow Flag will wave, and the company’s familiar yellow trucks will be dispatched to clean the track.   

            ServiceMaster Clean will have official and exclusive sponsorship of the Yellow Flag– now to be known as ServiceMaster Clean Caution periods – at all 19 ISC and SMI race tracks around the country. These racetracks feature 31 Sprint Cup, 24 Nationwide and 17 Camping World Truck Series races and hundreds of other racing events. In fact, there will hardly be a race for the next five years where ServiceMaster Clean does not have a large presence. All cleaning and drying vehicles and equipment will feature the ServiceMaster Clean logo and colors, and the clean-up teams will wear bright yellow ServiceMaster Clean jumpsuits.       

To me that reads as if every time a caution flies, radio, TV, and the track PA announcers have to say the “ServiceMaster Clean yellow flag is out.”  Also it’s not longer just “under caution” but the “ServiceMaster Clean caution period.”

I just don’t think Nascar fans are going to take this seriously. If they weren’t booing enough during this past year’s Brickyard 400 with all the yellow flags, think about the ire to also hear “the ServiceMaster Clean yellow flag is out” each time.

I’m sure that the parties invovled equate this sponsorship to the Aaron’s Lucky Dog free pass.  It’s not. 

The Lucky Dog got its start in the TV broadcast booth and was a brand new animal (sorry it is what it is) in Nascar.  The yellow flag has been around forever.

What should have been done and is being done in the IRL and was also done in the now defunct CART series, was put the sponsorship name on the safety team.

In the IRL, it’s the Delphi Safety Team.  In CART, it was the Simple Green Safety Team.  No tying in with a caution flag or caution period.  Both sponsors actually got more mentions than they probably would the way the Nascar/ServiceMaster Clean deal will generate.

I hope that once the parties involved realize the fans think this idea of sponsored yellow flags and caution periods is a joke, they’ll make the adjustment to the examples I gave.  Let’s not make racing more of a circus and sideshow than it is quickly becoming.

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4 Comments

  1. seems this also leaves the door open for forced cautions… ie. no cautions, race is almost over, sudden caution for no apparent reason… just to get the sponsors name out there once in a race… lame idea!

  2. Good Lord, NASCAR is really doing their damnedest to alienate their fanbase. This is out and out silly.

    With the ongoing struggles of several teams to field cars due to lack of funds, wouldn’t NASCAR have been better served to direct Service Master towards sponsoring a team? Considering they have money to burn on something as silly as sponsoring yellow flags…

  3. I and my wife,Dianne,are avid NASCAR fans.Our family managed a S.M.franchise in Lima Ohio for 34 years.We think this is great what you are doing at the race tracks.We live in Port Clinton Ohio,about two and a half hours from M.I.S..We would love to visit you all at the track some time.Do you also have a hospitality tent? Love to hear back from you all.Our favorite drivers are SMOKE and JR. MAKE A CLEAN SWEEP OF IT

    Ken and Dianne Blubaugh

  4. Hate it, Hate it, Hate it!!!!! As bad as hearing “Boogedy, Boogedy, Boogedy….”


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