February 21, 2017

by Matt McLaughlin

Beside the Rising Tide

Are there Monsters Under the Bed?   Maybe it's nothing. This is a strange era we're living in rife with conspiracy theories with little to no basis in fact. Be it pedophile pizzerias or Russia funding the separatist movement to make California its own nation, thanks to the internet it's “news”! So perhaps it's nothing but I did notice something rather odd on Sunday. As most of you know by now Monster Energy is the Cup series title sponsor. But damn were they flying under the radar for the most part on Sunday. Their name was barely mentioned. They had four signs painted on the outside wall, all of them directly clockwise from NASCAR logos which were much bigger and more visible. It seemed the shadows and colors made those logos almost invisible. Hmmm, said I. So I kept watching. All the cars now have the sponsor's logos decaled across the top of their windshield where the drivers name used to go (not a fan of that for the record). But camera angles seemed deliberately chosen not to show that logo “clear and in focus” as Joyce Julius insists. All the driver's uniforms now have a Monster patch by that driver's right shoulder. Again, an odd amount of times it appeared that a microphone or on screen logos blocked that patch from the cameras. Occasionally the on-screen graphics included the name Monster (not stylized but clearly readable) but most did not. Joey Logono took no swig of a Monster in victory lane but then he is under contract with Coke. (Which, incidentally, owns a major portion of Monster Energy.) He failed to thank the new title sponsor. Yep, I'm sure there will be an occasional slipup when a driver or broadcaster uses “Sprint” instead of the new name, but this seemed deliberate. Prior to the race I would have thought the over-under on how many times the Waltrip brothers would use the name “Monster” during the broadcast at 1000. I was pleased to hear Mike Joy correctly use “in the series currently called Monster Cup” when discussing a historical footnote...