· Don't thank me, thank Justice Fruit Pies!
Robby Gordon is removing a Motorola logo from the hood of his #7 Ford at the request of NASCAR officials, but he says he doesn't understand how Motorola and Cup series sponsor Nextel are competitors. He also can't understand why the company can be an associate sponsor on the car, as it has been the three previous Nextel Cup races, but cannot move into a primary slot. "I'm having a hard time understanding how Nextel and Motorola are competitors because that's the reason we can't use the sponsorship," Gordon said. "They have been an associate sponsor on my car for the first three events, and they can remain as an associate sponsor on my car; they just can't be a primary sponsor on my car." Gordon said NASCAR officials told him that was the reasoning for the changes. NASCAR President Mike Helton said that Motorola is specifically listed among the companies barred from being a primary sponsor in the Nextel agreement, which gives Nextel (now Sprint) exclusivity among wireless providers as well as wireless handset manufacturers. "It's a NASCAR decision, yes," Gordon said. "This is the first time I have ever been involved in something like this. I've never been told no [on] a sponsor because we never felt we've gone after a sponsor that wouldn't be approved. I didn't even imagine that Motorola wouldn't be approved. They're the official radio of everybody in the garage area. It's just mind-boggling, and I'm having a little bit of a hard time on it." Gordon said he planned to use the sponsorship for two events. "We have a relationship with a competitor's cell phone company [Verizon] in the Busch Series, and we felt that with them in the Busch Series and Motorola strictly in the Cup series, there wouldn't be a conflict," he said. Motorola has a relationship with NASCAR as it is the primary vendor of Racing Radios, which provides two-way radio service for NASCAR at the track. Gordon said he was unaware of exactly how Motorola could be considered a competitor. "That's where a person like myself has a hard time because you go to the front page of Nextel.com and you find Motorola logos on there and Motorola phones on there, and it's just a bit confusing why we're having an issue with the race car being on the race track," Gordon said. Helton added that NASCAR - not Nextel - made the decision on the car, a decision that he said seemed fairly black-and-white. "NASCAR is the group that polices the sport, so it's NASCAR's role to approve paint designs, approve sponsors on cars, approve how sponsors utilize the paint designs on the cars to promote and activate their relationships," Helton said. Helton said that most of the times, these issues are handled before the car gets to the track. "There is a process in place where the paint scheme has to be approved ... there wasn't time to fix the car before it got here, but we have plenty of time here to correct things," he said.(SceneDaily.com)(3-16-2007)