Millions of reasons to say no

The top officials at NASCAR are shopping for a title sponsor for the understudy to the Sprint Cup Series.

Nationwide Insurance will drop its contract at the end of the 2014 season. The company has been the series title sponsor since 2008.

Many sporting groups would benefit from a title sponsorship label in the sport, but few can afford the costly price tag NASCAR CEO Brian France is wanting.

Dunkin Donuts, AutoZone, KFC and Subway all analyzed the opportunity.

The current contract is between $10-$12 million a year. Now the corporation is asking for $15 million per year.

The asking price is a minimum 20 percent increase over the rights Nationwide is spending now.

In addition to rights fee, executives are wanting potential buyers to commit to a 10-year deal that includes a media commitment of more than $10 million and an activation commitment of more than $10 million, putting the annual cost at more than $30 million per year.

One stipulation the new sponsor should consider is limiting the participation of Cup drivers competing in these races.

Cup drivers draw fans to the stands, but limits the avaliable spots on the grid for new and established talent.

The availability of a corporation willing to fork out this amount of money will be difficult to find in this economic relm. NASCAR should sponsor the series itself to show its continued support for the development of the sport and future drivers.

  • NASCAR is entertaining offers to showcare its brand around the world. The sanctioning body turned down contracts to run or develop a new series in Singapore, Malaysia and Russia.

More than 20 groups approached NASCAR to develop a viable series in China in the coming years.

NASCAR will expand its media rights with new Fox and National Broadcasting Co. deals beginning in 2015 (races are seen in more than 150 countries in 23 languages.)

Brazil, Japan and Russia are the most enticing for building a new series in the coming years.

The hope is that foreign drivers will begin gravitating toward a shot at competing in the Sprint Cup Series instead of open-wheel Formula One.

  • Three notable drivers will be inducted into the National Motorsports (NMPA) Hall of Fame: Mario Andretti, Ray Evernham and Steve Waid. Andretti is the only driver to win the Daytona 500, Indy 500 and a Formula One championship. Evernham, a veteran crew chief, guided Jeff Gordon to four Sprint Cup championships and 47 series wins while at Hendrick Motorsports. Waid has covered NASCAR for more than 40 years and received many lifetime achievement awards as a motorsports journalist.

The NMPA Hall of Fame was founded in 1965.

Contact Eddie Thomas at