So, Parker Kligerman shows up on “NASCAR Race Hub” recently to talk about his consecutive runner-up finishes in the Camping World Truck Series despite driving a Dodge Ram with no factory support.
The story is inspiring, until it gets a little weird. Kligerman can hardly let the interview get started before saying that he can’t wait to find sponsorship so he can get Penske Truck Rental off the hood.
Kligerman drives, at least theoretically, for car owner and Penske driver Brad Keselowski. But much of the bill is likely picked up by Roger Penske, since Kligerman is still a Penske developmental driver, and Penske (aka “The Captain”) did the same for Kligerman when he broke out in the ARCA Series for Cunningham Motorsports.
And if I were one of Penske’s sponsors (Miller Lite, Shell/Pennzoil, Discount Tire, Ruby Tuesday, etc.), I’d be calling The Captain to inquire about what the hell is going on.
Penske Truck Leasing, the parent organization of Penske Truck Rental, has annual revenue of about $4 billion, per the company’s website. And yet, that company seemingly has no ability to either afford or expect any return on investment for Kligerman’s efforts, so it has to get its logos off the truck ASAP?
In other words, a trucking company can’t get any positive exposure in the Truck Series? If I’m one of Penske’s sponsors, I’m asking, “If you’ve admitted that putting your company’s logo on a NASCAR entry is worthless, then what am I spending millions on?”
Now, to be fair this isn’t always a black-and-white issue. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has occasionally thrown his Whisky River bars on one of his JR Motorsports Nationwide cars when he didn’t have another sponsor. But there are only two locations (in Charlotte and Jacksonville), making that business way too small to reasonably absorb the costs of a NASCAR sponsorship.
We’ve seen the HendrickCars.com logos on Rick Hendrick’s entries from time to time, but the viability of selling cars online is sketchy, at best. It might get a few more folks to the dealership, but can it equate to hundreds of thousands in extras sales, enough to cover the cost of taking the car to the track? Highly unlikely.
Vehicle rental, on the other hand, lives online and via phone transactions. It’s an industry that involves reaching people directly in their homes and motivating them to give out their credit card numbers on the spot.
If you can’t sell GoPenske.com, then maybe Penske should go out of NASCAR, before he convinces others that motorsports is a lousy investment.