nascarfan.jpg
Dale Earndhardt's biggest fan can't start his day without a caramel macchiato.
Starbucks, the people who made it cool for non-yuppies to break the bank

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Attention Starbucks: NASCAR Fans Might Not Be in Your Target Market

nascarfan.jpg
Dale Earndhardt's biggest fan can't start his day without a caramel macchiato.
Starbucks, the people who made it cool for non-yuppies to break the bank for an espresso, is the newest sponsor of NASCAR. In exchange for an undisclosed sum of cash, the coffee maker is now the proud owner of a panel on the Chevrolet driven by Martin Truex Jr. News which begs the question: Has Starbucks ever met a NASCAR fan?

Chances are if you're reading this you've never been to a race. That makes two of us. But thanks to a college education in Southwestern Virginia, I have hung out outside of one. Specifically, outside of the Richmond International Raceway.

And if the people tailgating there were any indication of the sport's primary clientele, I've got a bit of unfortunate news for Starbucks..

$4 doesn't describe what NASCAR's Average Fan might spend on a cup of coffee so much as it describes what he might spend on an outfit.

(Unless, of course, said outfit is emblazoned with a picture of martyred hero Dale Earnhardt or the number of his car, presented so artfully in the picture above. For that he'll gladly loot his kid's college savings.)

Accuse me of unnecessarily stereotyping? Fine. I understand that in the past decade or two NASCAR has grown from its humble back-country beginnings to official title-holder of the Fastest Growing Sport in the Country. And hell, the Pacific Northwest almost got a track a couple years ago before things went screwy in Bremerton.

But even as the image projected by NASCAR has moved away from blue-collar bootlegger in order to capture white-collar fans and advertisers, its core audience still looks pretty much the same.

Not to get all Jerry Seinfeld on you ("I love NASCAR fans. My dad's a NASCAR fan!"), but the few guys I befriended who spent their Sunday afternoons rooting for Jimmie Johnson or Kasey Kahne all did kind of look alike. White dudes with ball caps and empty Mountain Dew bottles half-filled with their Skoal backwash.

Maybe that says more about my choice in friends than anything else. But it also gives me an idea.

Starbucks might not be able to interest most NASCAR fans in the product they sell. But since a lot of NASCAR fans also love themselves some chew, they do have something of interest to the man with a wad of dip stuck in his cheek and nowhere to discreetly release: cups. Lots of 'em.

Starbucks: The Official Spit Receptacle of NASCAR? Now that just might work.

 
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