Nascar drivers must drive extra hard

Jeff Burton finished 14th at Dover International Speedway, which Burton thought was a much better car than 14th. All he wanted to do was go home and spend time with his team working on the racecar. When he looked at his schedule he found, no suck luck.

Better said, no such time.

As a driver in Nascar's premier series, Winston Cup, Burton has much more responsibilities than the National Basketball association (NBA), or any other pro sports.

After the race he flew from Dover to Charlotte for a one day break then straight to Orlando, Florida for two straight days of appearances for his sponsor, CITGO. When he got back to Charlotte there was little time to spend moments with his team. He had to get ready for the upcoming race at Pocono and would leave the next morning.

The money put into sponsoring a Nascar Winston Cup car has jumped from what it was in the early 90's mainly because of how fast Nascar is growing. Since the sponsors have to pay, more the drivers must make more appearances. Nowadays sponsors tend to care more about how many appearances drivers make off the track than their performance on it.

Drivers do photo shoots, advertisements for the sponsors, and commercials year around. They often make visits to their VIP tents before the race begins. At all time, drivers must have time and availability for their sponsors. Last year Jeff Burton made appearances for 13 minor sponsors and 42 appearances for CITGO, as well as 45 visits to his VIP tents before racing and qualifying. After all, of that Burton thinks he is one of the lucky ones.

Nascar, which has built the reputation of extreme loyalty for their driver's sponsors, has outdone every other sport. Nascar released a report saying 1.4 Billion dollars for their driver's sponsors. Nascar is built around sponsors, well at least the drivers paycheck is.

Jeff Gordon who is sponsored by Pepsi rarely makes an appearance without a Pepsi in his hand.

For proof that sponsors care more about drivers' appearances and popularity than race performance, look at Dale Jarret. Jarret who has one of the highest paying sponsors in all of Nascar is currently in 28th in the Nascar standings yet his sponsor UPS is extremely happy. Jarret has generated 45.6 million dollars in revenue for UPS.

Nascar is a demanding sport, drivers will gripe about all the appearances they must make in private, but never in front of a sponsor.

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