A Tale of Two Stories

Saturday, May 13

The return of Carl Long to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was not what he or his team had hoped for. The team arrived at Kansas Speedway on Friday morning with the sponsorship form Veedverks. However, the Veedverks sponsorship logo was removed from the car before it hit the track.

Long makes his return to the garage after an eight-year hiatus. At the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2009, Long had an illegal engine that was  0.17 cubic inches too big. He was assessed a $200,000 penalty. The fine was not paid resulting in a ban from the Cup garage, although permitted to race in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, which he did on a part-time basis. 

NASCAR confirmed last week that Long “satisfied all necessary requirements to compete.”

Before heading to Kansas Speedway, Long made a plea on Facebook for $25,000 for a company to sponsor here.

“I put out a number, here it is,” Long said. “Most standard deals are about 300 grand, $250,000. I know I’m not going to be Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and all that kind of stuff, but this week coming back, I’m going to get a lot of press. And if someone can get us [$25,000], we can get here.”

With the help of Veedverks and other sponsorship, Long was able to make the trip to Kansas Speedway.

Earlier in the week, Long and his team submitted the sponsor and paint scheme for the weekend to be approved by NASCAR. When a team submits the sponsor and scheme, the Race Operations and Event Management team received the submission. From there, they go to a committee which approves the sponsor and scheme. Long received his approval on Wednesday.

However, the sponsor was misspelled on the initial application. When the team arrived to Kansas Speedway, NASCAR saw the correct spelling and researched the company. They found that it was a marijuana vaping company. NASCAR asked Long and his team to remove the logo before hitting the track for practice.

When news arose about the removal, a social media dissension arose.

Here is what the Carl Long Motorsports Facebook Page stated about the situation:

“I am the one who did not take the time to research while misspelling the company name to NASCAR. I am not savey in knowing difference in chemicals in hemp vs pot or cornbread for that matter. I am just excited to be able to participate on the cup side again. We hope to be able to get other drivers and sponsors to join us in future races.”

“I will offer a settlement for not promoting them on the car. The media has blown this up, veedverk has shown the power Nascar still has as great way to advertise companies and products. I personally do not use vape , or cannabinoid products , but many people do, and thats their choice. My job is to advertise, oh and go fast. Nascar does not allow this on our cars, we have a protocall to follow. We messed it up by misspelling a name and no research. The excitement of people participating and sponsoring us gives me hope we can do more.”

Veedverks posted on social media that their entire marketing budget and two month’s of operating cash were “stolen from NASCAR”

"Veedverks is a small, veteran owned and operated business that is creating American manufacturing jobs. We entered this sport while other sponsors are leaving in droves. Now we know why. We hoped this sponsorship opportunity would provide the return on investment that NASCAR claims to deliver. But even though our logo is no longer on Carl's hood, we remain Carl's primary sponsor.  Unlike NASCAR, our word is our bond," says Travis Lippert, CEO of Veedverks, in a press release. "We are proud to sponsor Carl's return and to educate NASCAR fans and officials about the legality and health benefits of hemp oil, such as our vape pens. Veedverks has been severely damaged by NASCAR's actions today.  We are just thankful they haven't stolen the tires we bought him."

The press release also stated:

“Veedverks is a hemp-derived vape pen company, which manufactures compliant products that are legal on a Federal level. This change in NASCAR's official sponsorship approval reveals an underlying disrespect and disapproval of the American farmers working tirelessly to bring back hemp as a sustainable agricultural and industrial crop. Additionally,  NASCAR decision clearly illustrates how NASCAR works with veterans, small businesses, under funded race teams. Most importantly, it casts doubt upon the integrity of the relationship of race teams and their sponsors, who can no longer in good faith commit marketing budgets to a race team without fear of NASCAR reversing decisions at the last minute without reimbursement or apology.”

Long will start in the 40th position in tonight’s Go Bowling 400 from Kansas Speedway due to not making a lap in qualifying.

TALLADEGA, Al— Once a top-team on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Roush-Fenway went to the wayside after 2014. Once fielding five cars, they are now fielding two at the Cup level. Losing names like Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth was a shot for the organization. However, Roush Fenway stayed strong despite the performance on the track.

 

Although team officials won’t call it a resurgence, Roush Fenway has been competitive since going to a two-car organization this season following the departure of Greg Biffle at the end of 2016.

 

Winning the GEICO 500 was a mark of success in the “turning the ship”.

 

“Its ebbs and flows, its ups and downs.  I've been stock car racing for 30 years in 2016, so this is my 31st year.  But I had already been racing on a national level, drag racing and road racing for 20 years before I started with the stock car, with NASCAR,” said Jack Roush about the past few seasons.

 

Being part of Ford Performance, the emphasis is on the camp being one. That one mentality is the strongest it has ever been and at the top of their game, according to Roush.


“They give us a lot of tools in our toolbox and they give us unfettered support from their technical people that the things that they've got labs and all to do that are applied to what we're doing, and to be able to carry the banner for Ford is really special,” Roush explained.

 

Being “new” to the organization, Brian Pattie, crew chief for Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., believes that the priority has changed from within the organization.

 

“Just focus, focus one week at a time, execute, and after the checkered flag falls on a Sunday, we'll regroup on Monday and start over.  Just try and not get ahead of ourselves.  That's just the biggest part.  Obviously we've got better people and better spots and the cars are faster.  That helps tremendously,” stated Pattie.

 

Finding new success in NASCAR, Roush was confident that Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne would win races in 2017. Over the off-season, Roush restructured internally to put the right people in the right places to gel in an effort to bring the organization back to winning form.

 

The start of 2017 has been a new wind in the sails of the organization. Officials and workers still believed in the program, despite not having the numbers. The organization continued to believe in their personnel and drivers that they would work their way out of the slump.


According to Steve Newmark, team president, this win was a confirmation that all their hard work has paid off.

 

“I think this is just kind of affirmation of the work that's been put into it, and we really do follow kind of the -- Jack's leadership and the principles at that he's instilled in everybody, and it's been a promote from within organization, so you have a lot of people at Roush Fenway that started on the ground floor and have worked their way up and have had ups and downs, and Ricky is probably kind of the poster child of that, so I think that's why it makes it so enjoyable for everybody to be involved,” stated Newmark.

 

With his victory at Talladega, Stenhouse, Jr. locks himself into the NASCAR playoffs. Roush-Fenway believes that Bayne will make the playoffs with a win. Bayne currently sits 16th in points, just one point ahead of 17th place driver, Aric Almirola.

TALLADEGA, Al.— Although he had a strong third place run going, Kyle Busch was critical of his teammates and their help during the GEICO 500.

 

When it comes to restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing form a pact to draft together in an effort to work their way to the front for a potential victory at Talladega.

 

Busch was able to show the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing, but his teammates were nowhere to be found to help him score the potential victory after leading the race when the white flag fell.

 

“Everybody was all kind of mixed up – there was a Ford, there was a Chevy – so it was just all over the place. Certainly myself and the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin), we all worked really well together today and it was fun to have comradery today with teammates, but they weren’t there for us at the end,” Busch explained post-race.

 

Busch led a race high go 48 laps. Had the final caution not fell, sending the race into overtime, due to an accident involving Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Chris Buescher on the backstretch, Busch would have been the victor in the GEICO 500. But due to the drafting help Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. received from Jamie McMurray, Busch lost the lead to finish in the third position.

 

“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it,” Busch explained. “Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together.”

 

Busch was able to get the jump on restarts in the closing stages of the race, and explained how he was able to get the advantage.

 

“Maybe it was everybody sleeping,” he answered. “ I don't know.  But it certainly was working, and that was sort of my strategy was to get it where I was single file and I could choose a lane and see which one had the momentum behind me. If I was stuck side by side with the bottom line, I never had that opportunity in order to protect both lanes.  I seem to be able to do a good job at that, I just don't know how it all fell apart there in the last lap or two for us that we couldn't get to where we needed to be.”

 

Busch settled for third, but remains confident heading into Kansas.

 

“We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things,” he said. “Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”

TALLADEGA, Al.— Kyle Larson did not have the day he was hoping for in the GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway. After starting from the 21st position, Larson was in danger right from the get-go.

 

In the first 20 laps of the race, Larson hit the wall on the backstretch while in the middle of the pack on the backstretch. Shortly after he hit the wall, the right front tire blew sending Larson into the turn one wall on lap 18. According to Goodyear, the tire blew due to the contact with the wall.

 

Larson and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing quickly went to work to repair the car. Larson would not be in contention to win the race, but continued to battle through the event. Larson and his crew were able to finish sixth in the second stage to gain five driver championship points.

 

Finding their niche in the race, Larson and his crew set quietly waiting to pounce. That opportunity ran itself short as Larson rallied to finish in the 12th position.

 

Despite his struggles, Larson was able to extend his points lead over Martin Truex, Jr. from 40 points after Richmond to 54 points after the GEICO 500 at Talladega.

TALLADEGA, Al— For the first time of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. was victorious in the GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway after a late race charge to the front in a green, white, checkered scenario. Stenhouse Jr. was able to hold off Kyle Busch in the final two laps to head towards victory. This is Roush-Fenway’s first victory since Carl Edwards went to victory lane in 2014 at Sonoma. This is Ford’s fifth win in a row on restrictor plate tracks.

 

“This is for all the guys at the shop.  We’ve been terrible for a long time.  This year, every race we’re getting better and better.  We knew that Talladega was a good race track for us.  It’s been a good one in the past and I’m just glad we parked it for my buddy, Bryan Clauson,” Stenhouse Jr. stated. “He was with us on that last lap.  This Fifth Third Bank Ford was so fast today – qualified on the pole and got the win.  I can’t say enough about the guys.  It’s cool to have Jack Roush back in Victory Lane, Ford Performance, Fastenal, Sunny D.  I’m gonna have a Sunny D in the morning, maybe a little later.  This is cool.  The closest race track to my hometown and the fans were out here this weekend.”

 

Jamie McMurray finished in the second position. McMurray was quiet throughout much of the day at Talladega, despite a few spotters complaining in the early stages of the race about his driving style and potentially causing a wreck.

 

“I mean it’s really circumstantial as to what the guys do in front of you and what is happening behind you. I just got a run at the right time.  I thought the No. 17 (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.) was going to get a little bit further out, but when we were coming to the line it just seemed like his car wasn’t going at that point, so it was a good finish.  It was a great race,” said McMurray I’m glad everybody is okay, that was a really scary wreck on the backstretch, but really good day for our McDonald’s Chevrolet.  We had good pit stops and the guys did a great job.” 

 

Ky. Busch was leading the race at the advertised distance of 188 laps, but a late race caution sent the race in overtime ultimately sending him to a third place finish. Busch was not a happy camper when it came to the GEICO 500.

 

“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it. (Ricky) Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together. I just can’t say enough about this Skittles American Mix Camry – it was really fast,” said Ky. Busch. “The guys at Joe Gibbs Racing did a great job and TRD with everyone on this motor, it was awesome. We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things. Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”

 

Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard, and David Ragan rounded out the top-10.

 

Kyle Larson still holds the points lead over Martin Truex, Jr by 54 points. Keselowski is 61 points back in third, Chase Elliott is 75 points back in fourth, and McMurray rounds out the top-five in points only 110 back from Larson.

 

The GEICO 500 was slowed eight times for 33 laps. There was one red flag period for a total of 26 minutes and 51 seconds. There were 26 different lead changes amongst 14 different drivers with Ky. Busch leading the most at 48 laps. The first two stages were one by Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. The time of the race was three hours, 29 minutes, and 16 seconds.

 

Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a Saturday night trip to Kansas Speedway for the Go Bowling 400.