Times are tough these days in our favorite sport, especially in the ‘sponsorship‘ department. Some are lucky to have long-term sponsors. Others lose their jobs because there’s no backing. When the money is tight, a name across your car’s hood is sacred. But, one person who doesn’t have to worry about having bare spots on his quarter panels is Carl Edwards. After an announcement this week that Subway would sponsor the driver for six races in 2012, I could help but wonder why companies are attracted to him like moths to a flame.
Edwards brings positive attention to himself. You don’t see Carl smashing into the SAFER barrier every weekend or blowing engines. He’s made consistency an art form, and it almost won him the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship. The last ten weeks of the 2011 season, he fought against Tony Stewart repeatedly, making himself the subject of much talk. Even after the final checkered flag waved, he made rounds on the TV circuit. Also, he is a smart racer. Carl won’t let his emotions drive the car. If he’s upset, he doesn’t wreck the other 42 cars out there. It takes a lot to make this driver’s blood boil, but he won’t allow it to mess up his focus. When he was racing close with Stewart during The Chase, he didn’t turn him. He raced him fair, and sponsors like a clean-cut wheeler.
Natural charisma, grace, and attractiveness are qualities Carl has, and he executes them very well. This man is the subject to scrutiny from TV cameras, talk shows, and female fans because of his magnetism. He likes to talk and sometimes commentate about the sport he loves. With ESPN trying to get him in the booth during Nationwide races this year, it’s likely we will see Analyst Carl, who is conversation-savvy and amusing. Late last year, his gracefulness was tested, as he lost the championship by one point. He became NASCAR’s Most Dignified Loser, which many people applauded. Even if he didn’t clinch the title, he won a better trophy: the hearts of many fans. As with some drivers, he has a devoted female following, and it is understandable; with a bright smile and great sense of humor, it’s hard for women to not forget their own names. But, all of these traits make Edwards very marketable, the ribbon that ties the package together.
When sponsors look for drivers to back, they want someone who is an ideal spokesman., someone suave, likable, and sharp. Not every driver has that combination, so Carl Edwards is a rarity. Does he hog sponsors? Possibly, but it won’t stop companies from wanting their names mentioned by him when he hits Victory Lane.