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NASCAR’s new entitlement sponsor is planning on bringing out the “Monster” in the series.

The Monster Energy Era has dawned in NASCAR and although NASCAR introduced a new behavioral policy before the 2016 season, overly polished athletes do not fit the Monster mold.

Perhaps it’s a sign of a return to the rebels fans once knew and grew to enjoying watching behind the wheel.

Monster doesn’t have a reputation for being conventional. The brand encourages authenticity with its athletes ”” and that’s just fine with Kurt Busch.

Busch, the 2004 NASCAR champion, carries the Monster brand as a co-primary sponsor on the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing car and has enjoyed a relationship with Monster since 2012. He’s excited about the prospect of drivers expressing their true selves.

“That’s what we need to get back to,” Busch said. “That’s the underlining defining moment that we all need to work on. But it’s helping the other sponsors understand that. It’s helping the NAPA’s, the Motorcrafts, it’s helping the brands that get excited when something goes wrong and not allowing the drivers attitude or personality come through.

“I remember a time when I was in the paper for a bad reason ”” a few weeks after I won a race ”” and I said to that CEO, why didn’t I get a phone call when I won the race?” he added. “Why am I talking to you after a bad moment? I hope we can bring the fun back to NASCAR.”

When Monster Energy’s Vice President of Sport Marketing Mitch Covington said Busch was an unbelievable brand ambassador he wasn’t blowing smoke. So it’s not surprising when Covington says the beverage company not only expects its athletes to be genuine, they demand it.

“We want to be authentic in all the sports we’re in,” Covington said. “”˜Authentic is a big word in our vocabulary. We want to see the emotion ”” the raw emotion in the sport. My kids race. There’s not a bigger high than winning or a bigger low when you don’t. That’s what draws people to sport. Yeah, we want to see the really thing.

“And NASCAR is an emotional sport,” he added. The drivers get emotional and we need to let them be emotional and do what they do. We never tell our athletes what to say in an interview. We never script them. We hire them because of the way they are not because of what we want them to say. We want raw emotion and good hard racing.”

Busch has been the poster child for “raw emotion and good hard racing over the years”. At 38, he’s participated in every sponsor era that NASCAR has enjoyed from Winston through Nextel/Sprint and now Monster. Other than the sanctioning body, no one in the sport intimately understands the new sponsors potential for taking NASCAR to the next level.

“It’s tremendous for the series, for Monster Energy, for both brands to be able to continue to build,” Busch said. “NASCAR came from its Southern roots and there was a sponsor named R.J. Reynolds and Winston that helped do that. Nextel and Sprint took it to the next level and here we go again. And it’s up to everybody in the room to make that happen.

“What’s fun about Monster, they have been doing the same thing with sponsoring little endorsement programs that started here and there and then moved into the X Games. But it’s always been about the athlete, winning races, getting on the podium and beating the competition. Here we are going into the top form of motorsport because they see what kind of competition goes on here and they want to be a part of it.”

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage is also looking forward to seeing the impact of the series new sponsor.

"Monster Energy is the perfect series sponsor for NASCAR at the perfect time,” he said. “Monster's ability to market their association with NASCAR is important to the sport. All sports need more young people exposed to their 'game,' and this will serve NASCAR well. NASCAR is the original action sport. It's perfect for Monster and for NASCAR."

Great competition and personalities should be at the core of every sport. NASCAR has worked overtime the last few years to improve the on track product.

Now there is an edgy title sponsor with attitude to go with it.

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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