The Driver Suit Blog-NASCAR Sponsorship and Children…Sailing the Censorship.

By David G. Firestone

Since I started this blog, I have found myself chasing stories more. One thing will lead to another, and sometimes, I will discover something that I have never thought I would write about. Today’s column is one of these examples. This story started off when I tried to photo-match this Bobby Hillin suit from 199120-hillin

I came across this card:hillin

It is a perfect match except for one thing. Note that the Winston logo has been edited out. 20-hillin-rchest 20-hillin-lchest  hillinNow this is not an isolated incident. Many toys and cards are marketed to children. As such, having alcohol and/or tobacco sponsors on cards and toys is a no-no. But I came across this recently, and it just boggled my mind.

I wrote about my trip to the National Sports Collectors Convention a few weeks ago. Something else I did was that I bought 3 boxes of 1995 Upper Deck NASCAR Series 2 and did a vintage box break on YouTube. What a “vintage box break” means is that I buy a box of cards from the 1990’s or early 2000’s that claim to have autographed cards randomly placed in packs, and open every pack in the box to try and find an autographed card. Sometimes it works,

sometimes it doesn’t.

Well this is the result of the 1995 Upper Deck box break…

After I finished the break, I began to examine the cards more closely, and came across something really unusual. For reasons I can’t understand, the sponsors are partially sponsored, which means that some alcohol and tobacco sponsors are censored, while others are not. For example, Skoal is censored in all forms on cardsscn - Copy (4) scn - Copy (5) scn0001 - Copy (3) scn0001 - Copy (2)Whereas Kodiak, which is the same product is not. scn - Copy (3) scn - Copy (8)The other one that I saw is that Budweiser is censored as a sponsor,scn - Copy (6) scn0001 - Copy scn - Copy (2)While Miller Genuine Draft, the same product is not.scn - Copy (7)Some cards censor all the controversial sponsors, some don’t censor any, but I have never seen a company favor one over the other before, and it just seems odd. There seems to be a science to censoring sponsors. While I’m not a fan of censorship of sponsors, it is easy to understand why it happens. Parents don’t want their children to smoke or drink alcohol, which is understandable. So these toys, such as these 1/64 scale cars will replace the alcohol sponsor with the name of the driver and/or the name of the team that owns the car, as these examples show, such as Rusty Wallace  100_4049 100_4050 100_4047Ricky Craven100_4052 100_4053 100_4051Ken Schrader100_4059 100_4060 100_4058  and Steve Grissom100_4055 100_4057 100_4054  Those marketed for grown-ups will have the logos, such as these Ken Schrader examples.25-scharder-1 25-scharder-2 25-scharder-3 33-schrader-1 33-schrader-2 33-schrader-3And this Dale Earnhardt Jr. Example8-earnhardt-1 8-earnhardt-2 8-earnhardt-3  Simpson mini helmets manufactured in the early to mid 1990’s always have the sponsors, such as these examples from Rusty Wallace,2-wallace1 2-wallace2 2-wallace3 2-wallace4 2-wallace5 2-wallace6     Red Dog Beer,reddog1 reddog2 reddog3 reddog4 reddog5 reddog6     Ricky Craven,41-craven1 41-craven2 41-craven3 41-craven4 41-craven5 41-craven6     and Robert Pressley. 33-pressley1 33-pressley2 33-pressley3 33-pressley4 33-pressley5 33-pressley6    “Hero Cards” which are given out to fans by race teams will never censor the primary sponsor logos in any situation.wallace1 wallace2 Whereas other cards are left up to the teams many of which will censor the cards:tlabonte1 tlabonte2  cope-card1 cope-card2 blabonte1-1 blabonte1-2 kleenex1 kleenex2Kenner made a series of NASCAR figures under the Finish Line banner in the mid 1990’s, and these religiously censored the sponsors, as this Rusty Wallace figure from 1998 clearly shows.

While tobacco has all but disappeared from NASCAR, alcohol is still a prominent. Coors Light sponsors the pole award, but in the die casts made for kids, which are 1/64 size, the Coors Light decal is missing as displayed on this Tony Stewart diecast. Whereas on the adult 1/24 sized car, the Coors Light decal can clearly be seen as seen on this Tony Stewart diecast. This Tony Stewart photo puzzle, in the kids section of the NASCAR Superstore has the Coors Light decal intact for some reason. Again, while I disagree with censorship, at least be consistent.

And now for something that isn’t censored…

Nothing new paint scheme wise…At this point, many teams are going to start premiering their 2014 schemes, and we’ll get to those at another time.

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