Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Monday, April 11, 2011

Robby's Texas Nightmare

What seemed to be just another race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway has turned into a nightmare for Robby Gordon. As usual Robby, as the owner of Speed Energy Drink, sent the check in to SMI to pay for the lot space for his souvenir hauler and as usual it cleared the bank. That is considered to be a binding contract in several states. No misrepresentation on Robby’s part since it was clearly from Speed Energy Drink. He didn’t have a problem at Las Vegas or Bristol, two other SMI tracks, and didn’t have a problem with the ISC tracks at Daytona, Fontana, Phoenix, or Martinsville. Once Robby’s Speed Energy Drink souvenir hauler and show car showed up, that’s when the nightmare ensued.
First, Texas Motor Speedway towed Robby’s Fast 5 show car away. The show car was there as a part of a Universal Pictures promotion for the upcoming Fast 5 movie. What’s odd is that there were other energy drink show cars parked in the same area that looked like they’d been parked there for several months and none of them were towed. And there were the souvenir haulers for the other energy drinks all along the row of souvenir haulers and nobody was bothering the Junior haulers (Amp Energy Drink splashed all over it), the Red Bull Haulers (Red Bull a competitor of Coca Cola’s Full Throttle), or Shrubbery’s souvenir trailer (with NOS in plain view on the trailer).

Check it out TMS has threatened to take all of our product and tow our merchandise hauler out of the racetrack! WTF

Then they were wanting to haul away the Speed Energy Drink souvenir hauler and confiscate all of the Speed Energy product that there. When Robby made his initial enquiry as to what was going on, he was told by Texas Motor Speedway that the track was sponsored by Red Bull and it was out of respect to Red Bull that they were doing this. Gee, that sure is funny. All of the SMI tracks are sponsored by Coca Cola, who manufactures the Full Throttle energy drink and distributes Monster Energy Drink. So that would mean that SMI violated their contract with Coca Cola by taking on the Red Bull sponsorship at Texas Motor Speedway. But wait, it gets even better.
Robby’s then sent a Twitter message that he didn’t get permission from the sales department to hand out free samples of the Speed Energy Drink.
Texas Motor Speedway
Every brand who hands out samples needs authorization from our sales team. Every sports venue has these rules, and we're not against anyone.
Since when did a salesman get to override a written contract? The worst that Texas Motor Speedway should’ve been able to do is make them keep the free sample behind the counter. At Charlotte and Atlanta, I’ve had samples handed to me from companies who weren’t on track property. And Robby hasn’t had a problem with this at the other SMI tracks prior to Texas. But wait, it gets even better.
Robby then receives a letter from SMI which prohibits his Speed Energy Drink souvenir hauler from all SMI tracks. Gee, could that be because Robby’s Speed Energy Drink isn’t listed as one of SMI’s “valued partners” that the Speed Energy souvenir hauler is being banned from all the SMI tracks? Since when did tracks have the authority to prohibit sponsors from showing off their wares at the tracks? Didn’t NA$CAR approve Speed Energy as a sponsor? Does this also mean that the tracks can ban certain makes of vehicles from racing because they’re not the “official vehicle” of that particular track?

Just so you guys know, TMS sent the letter that they gave us to revoke our access to promote to ALL the SMI properties. Which means next SMI track you prob wont get any SPEED Energy. Really?

And how about some of the ads Texas Motor Speedway has used with Dale Jr in his AMP uniform which clearly show the Amp logo and Mountain Dew logo and show the Amp or Mountain Dew car? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical of them as they’re supposed to be a Coca Cola track? Or a Red Bull track if you believe Texas Motor Speedway?
And since the Fast Five movie logos are on the car this weekend, Universal Pictures was expecting some reasonable appearance obligations that Texas Motor Speedway is now interfering with. Will SMI, Gossage, and Bruton stand together when they realize a fight with a major movie studio who has more lawyers than SMI does is the consequence, or will finger pointing ensue?
And how about the actual race coverage? When they showed the Dodge Chargers of the Race graphic, they showed the 2 & 22 cars from a blimp/helicopter shot but the 7 was nowhere to be seen. During the race, there’s usually an accidental shot of Robby’s car usually when he’s near one of the Chosen Ones, he’s in or near a wreck, or he’s being lapped. But no, not a single shot of his car the entire night unlike all the previous race of the season where we at least caught a small glimpse of at least a quarterpanel.

Anyone remember what happened at Las Vegas when Robby Gordon was qualifying? No? Let me refresh your memory with this video clip.  
One thing Speed Energy did make clear in a Twitter is that THEY aren’t calling for fans to boycott Texas Motor Speedway
We would never tell any1 to boycott anything. just showing what is out there. TMS is a great facility & we all want what's best for the sport
So while Speed Energy Drink might not be calling for a boycott, I’m thinking fans might want to rethink their plans involving Texas Motor Speedway, any events they host, any events they sponsor, and also purchasing any goods from any of the track’s sponsors. like Coca Cola, UPS, Dickies, Brookshires, Samsung Mobile, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Chevy, Bank of America, WinStar World Casino, Firestone, and others. Fans might also want to go to the speedway’s web site under the “contacts” section and drop Eddie Gossage, the man who forget to put Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s driver’s uniform in a safe, secure area which resulted in it being stolen, a line and let him know your opinion on this whole deal and your future plans and those of your friends and family members regarding Texas Motor Speedway and the track’s sponsors.


  1. Don't you also find it a bit curious that the Sprint Cup race sponsor was Samsung Mobile?

    A couple of years ago, Robby had Motorola as a sponsor for a cup race, but ended up running a blank car all through practice and qualifying. Seems NASCAR didn't want Motorola to sponsor a car because Motorola makes cell phones, and that would upset Sprint who sells cell phones. Doesn't matter that Sprint even sells Motorola phones. Robby and Motorola had to modify the car graphics to make "Motorola Digital Music Players" the sponsor instead. Motorola lost a lot of potential exposure, and Robby had another hassle to deal with. Motorola has not been back to NASCAR, as far as I've seen.

    Clearly Samsung Mobile sponsoring a Sprint Cup Race is completely different than Motorola sponsoring a car in a Sprint Cup Race. Particularly ironic given the crap that TMS gave Robby this weekend.

  2. Wow! That's terrible for Robby. It sounds like there are many conflicts of interst at TMS. It's sad that incidents like this may turn sponsors away from Robby because they don't want trouble with NASCAR.

    Speaking of TMS, was that race a snoozefest or what? I was watching on TV with my dad, and he complained 6 times how boring it was until he left.

  3. Think about what sort of message this sends out to potential sponsors and even some current sponsors. Also notice how nobody in the lamestream media has made mention of this. That by itself says a lot.

    You're right about the snoozefest Buschseries61. I barely made it 16 laps before I had to put down my pen and notepad it was so dull. I had to watch it on DVR Sunday with a large pot of coffee going to finish making my notes.

    It is awfully strange about Samsung Mobile being the sponsor Alan. I remember all the hubbub about Motorola sponsoring Robby. You can bet it was directly tied into thew Cup sponsor. With the way the Exclusivity Deal is written, even a simple Radio Shack walkie-talkie is banned from being a sponsor. All digital cameras are subject to being banned because of the camera feature on the cell phones. This whole Exclusivity Contract simply sucks and that's being nice about it.

  4. ditto to all that.

    sent my message to Eddie Gossage just now.

  5. I think if enough folks e-mail Gossage and get his attention, Gossage will have to do some backtracking as will his boss Bruton as the owner of SMI.

  6. Nice article hopefully commen sense prevails I doubt it. Wow interviewing kasey kahne during his q run. I never noticed that before he wasn't even next.Keep up the fight

  7. Message to Mr Gossage was delivered today.I will post his reply...

  8. Thanks Knuckles. I think there's a lot more to this than meets the eye. Remember, in NASCAR, common sense is not very common. That whole deal with Kahne is really odd. Why not an interview with the next guy going out or a car or two in back of Robby? It doesn't pass the smell test.

    Anon 2:03, I appreciate that.

  9. The Samsung deal predates Nextel/Sprint and is grandfathered in.

  10. Mike, Mike, Mike, there you go for looking for consistency from NASCAR. You and I have talked enough to know better than that! Good points.
    Don Good

  11. This dirty trick could be the best publicity Robbie could have. I hope it moves "Speed Energy" to the top of the market. Maybe Gossage and Bruton will learn that Robbie is more popular with the fans than they thought. And Jeremy is guilty, not! I thought NASCAR approved the team sponsors. If approved why different treatment? If you listen to Mike Joy you can here him hesitate and say something like " here it comes" and then the broadcast changes. The announcers were told through that little ear piece to shut Robbie's run down.
    Unusual for the lame stream media to not report on something? It's much more normal than unusual. You know Mike, like how you had to push and shove your way into the Brainless testimony in court.

  12. I know Don. Mea culpa and thanks.

    In order for this to become good publicity for Robby this article to go viral and that would take a lot of help from a lot of people Mr. Clause and while I do know it's been picked up on by Robby's fans on the Speed Energy forum, it's got to be picked up elsewhere, get spread, and get enough traction that folks in the lamestream media can't ignore what happened. It's taken months just to get somebody with a voice (Dave Moody) to mention what's been happening with Sam Ard and issuing a plea for help. So it's got to be somebody who's got a pair with a real following to pick up on this.

    NASCAR does approve all team sponsors. Which means all teams SHOULD have an equal opportunity to present their product, services, or whatever at the track. Even when Crown Royal was the official liquor of DIS, they didn't stop Jim Beam or Jack Daniels and make them get special permission for their haulers to be at the track. And they could put their showcars pretty much wherever they could. So this definitely points to it as being an SMI issue.

    It is odd that nobody in the lamestream media hasn't picked up on this which makes it smell pretty ripe. Like the possibility of not being allowed in the media center of any SMI tracks should it be reported. I do know of one media site which has been banned from any access to SMI's media information site and access to the media center at any SMI track unless they have a NASCAR hard card.

    It was pretty funny how with only half of the lamestream media in Daytona that the other half didn't show up for Mayfield's hearing and BZF's testimony. You know it's bad, or suspiscious, when only 2 local TV reporters and myself are the only ones there and the rest of the lamestream media is in Charlotte doing nothing.

    Maybe Robby didn't send Bruton a can of Turtle Wax to polish his head with for Christmas and Bruton's still miffed about it?

  13. Nice article but it is riddled with inaccuracies. First, the Speed Energy trailer was not at Bristol, nor was it at Daytona or Martinsville. It's been out west the entire season.

    Secondly, It is not unusual for tracks to require special permission for sponsors to distribute product. If you have ever been to a Red Bull, Amp Energy, or any other drink souvenir rig for that matter, they never hand out product. I asked about 3 years ago why they didn't sell Red Bull at their trailer and they told me they did not have permission to do so. Robby knew this and failed to comply. Did TMS over-react? I think so. However, Robby was in the wrong. You need to understand that these tracks have exclusive contracts with Coke or Pepsi to sell only their products on the track grounds. Please notice that sell and advertise are different, as other drinks can obviously advertise at a racetrack on the cars and in souvenirs. Most likely Red Bull already had an exclusive contract to distribute and thus Speed would not have given out sample if they wanted to. Robby was told this most likely and did it anyway. Anyone who has been paying attention knows Robby has used guerilla marketing techniques to promote the product. It is a good strategy for quick exposure but you make some enemies in the process. A contract to sell souvenirs IS NOT a contract to distribute or sell food/beverage.

    Third, it is absolute fiction that Robby was not featured as a "Dodge driver." I clearly remember them showing that graphic when Brad K and Kurt Busch were running 1-2 because the graphic said Keselowski-1st, Busch- 2nd, and Robby 36th.

    I like the point you're getting at with this article. The truth is tracks should be more accommodating to all sponsors. Happy sponsors run this sport. However, when a blog is rife with inaccuracies, misleading information and homerism, it takes away from any "objective" opinion you're trying to express.

    By the way, I am a huge Robby Gordon fan. Love his passion, and love his energy drink. However, I call a spade a spade because I know Robby would do the same.

  14. I accidentally omitted the fact that when they ran the graphic that they were showing the 2 & 22 car from the air which I did correct. I was in a bit of a rush writing it. Mistakes happen. And thanks for pointing out the locations of the Speed Energy souvenir trailer. That explains why he didn't have any problems at Daytona, Martinsville, or Bristol.

    After reading through all the definitions of ambush marketing, the correct term BTW, there are several majors sponsors who are guilty of that. One auto manufacturer has done it every time I've been to Charlotte. A major cell phone company is also guilty of it. And one of the home improvement companies is guilty of it but nothing is done about them doing it. Going further into the abush marketing deal, every time one of the Fox announcers starts shilling for a particular brand of car, sponsor, official product, and those same companies buy lots of additional commercial time, they too are committing ambush marketing.

    As to being objective, I refer you to my title as Curmudgeon and my blog in which I specifically address being a curmudgeon.

    As to homerism, I can only say "D-oh!".

  15. Didn't Robby's personal truck and golf cart get towed by NASCAR a few races back? Same deal as last Sunday.

    What sense does it make to bully Robby Gordon? NASCAR should promote guy's like Robby Gordon.

    I miss the free cartons of Winston's.

    Shayne (

  16. The contract was to display a car, not to hand out free samples. It's as simple as that. And it is standard procedure. Speed was trying to skirt the rules that AMP and all other legitimate companies play by. Who's the bad guy?

  17. Just to let you know, TMS did actually and unexpectedly reply to my email. Here is their reply:

    Dear Dave,

    Thank you for taking time to contact Texas Motor Speedway. Please understand that the speedway and SMI work with a multitude of partners and do not have these types of issues. Robby Gordon and his team are trying to do ambush marketing at the speedway without paying for it. Other corporate partners, such as Chevy, Dodge, Red Bull, AAA, Aflac, Nationwide, Sprint and many, many more, spend millions of dollars each year to abide by rules not only at SMI tracks but also ISC tracks. Robby Gordon’s marketing crew are trying to do it without paying a dime which underscores the integrity of other brands. If this continues, other partners will not come to the speedways and where will that leave the sport? Please don’t think that the speedway is trying to bully Robby Gordon and single him out. He is actually the only one trying to do this and go around the system.


    Texas Motor Speedway

  18. Shayne, yes the golf cart and his own truck were towed away a year or two ago and I believe it may have also been at TMS but I'd have to go look it up to be sure.When he got them back, he couldn't take them into the infield and had to park them out outisde the track with all of the fans' vehicles.

    Apparently Anon 11:39 AM, he had the same contract at Talladega and his show car wasn't towed away and his souvenir trailer wasn't bothered. So there's more to this than meets the eye.

    Dave, thanks for the reply from TMS.It's a canned reply as I've since found it on a number of forums and posting boards. It doesn't seem to jive with the excuses made on Twitter. I did some research on ambush marketing and based on the definitions, it seems that a home improvement company, a Japanese car manufacturer, and the Cup Series sponsor also engage in ambush marketing. If Robby was banned for "ambush marketing at the SMI tracks, why haven't these others been banned for the same thing? The almighty green back and the fact that Robby isn't handing it over to SMI for "preferred status". When in doubt, always follow the money trail.