Tuesday afternoon, NASCAR confirmed that the Cup Series season would be returning on May 17, albeit with some alterations. All events in May will be held at either Darlington Raceway or Charlotte Motor Speedway and race team members must follow guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, if teams want to put sponsor logos on their cloth masks, those must be approved by NASCAR.
According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, all race personnel must wear cloth masks during the return to the track. The governing body will also treat mask sponsors the same way that it does paint jobs on stock cars. All branded personal protective equipment must be submitted to NASCAR for approval. Those that do not meet a standard will be rejected.
"This mask is dangerous and inconvenient but I sure love fig newtons," one person wrote on Twitter in response to the news. Others reacted by proclaiming that this is the "most NASCAR thing ever." They immediately requested photoshops that showed drivers wearing Napa-branded facemasks in victory lane.
NASCAR has elicited joking comments in recent years due to the manner in which drivers can seamlessly work sponsor names into every single conversation and interview. The fans find this entertaining while the critics are far less approving. They don't understand why this ability to name drop McDonald's, Xfinity, Busch and other brands is essential.
One example of this ability was provided by Ryan Newman, who drives the No. 6 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing. He took fans through a "typical day" in his life, which included a tour of his home. However, this short video turned into an advertisement for his various sponsors. Newman specifically mentioned his Oscar Mayer hot dogs, his Castrol Motor Oil and Coca-Cola.
There were many users on Twitter that felt that Newman was "rubbing his wealth" in their faces. The vast majority, however, actually thought that this video was entertaining. They believed the veteran driver was just trying to lighten the mood amid the coronavirus pandemic, and they appreciated his random comments about FOX Sports and Ford.
Newman proved that he could name off all of his sponsors during a day at home, but will he soon be showing a Ford logo on his face? The race team personnel will wear cloth masks, which could feature sponsor logos, but will Newman be among this group? It's entirely possible that he could conduct a post-race interview while wearing an Oscar Mayer-branded mask.