STOP Stereotyping NASCAR Fans: NASCAR Fans and Starbucks November 13, 2009Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
Tags: claire b lang, claireblang.com, NASCAR, phoenix international raceway, Sirius NASCAR Radio, Sprint Cup Series, Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew, www.claireblang.com
Claire B. Lang, Phoenix International Raceway, November 13, 1:00 p.m. EST
I’m sick and tired, honestly of NASCAR fans being typecast. I live my life at NASCAR tracks and I look into the stands and walk with the crowds at the races and talk to fans on the air during my “Dialed In” show and they come from all walks of life, all incomes and yes, they do drink Starbucks.
Starbucks dips their corporate toe into NASCAR this weekend – with Starbucks and Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew logos on the TV Panel of the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Martin Truex Jr., an associate sponsorship. In addition, a fleet of Starbucks branded golf carts will be combing the PIR property passing samples of Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew.
This associate sponsorship led Caleb Hannan who writes for Seattle Weekly to blog a story with the headline, “Attention Starbucks: NASCAR Fans Might Not Be In Your Target Market.” The story featured the back of a fat, hairy race fan with the #3 carved in the hair in his back and a caption that reads, “Dale Earnhardt’s biggest fan can’t start his day without a carmel Macchiato.” Of course the caption was tongue in cheek. Caleb who admits he has never been to a race, says that the few NASCAR fans he has befriended all looked alike, “White dudes with ball caps and empty Mountain Dew bottles half-filled with their Skoal backwash,” he writes. He says Starbucks might not be able to interest most NASCAR fans in the product they sell, and refers to the fact that $4 does not describe what NASCAR’s average fan might spend on a cup of coffee, but says since they love themselves some chew maybe they can use the Starbucks cups as spit receptacles.
I read Hannan’s blog and frankly – it really set me off. So I discussed it on air and asked for fan reaction. Whew, still getting emails today, and all from well-educated, smart , non-dipping NASCAR fans who want a piece of Hannan so they can tell him how uninformed he is on the NASCAR fan base.
Three hours of calls later, one of the final calls on my “Dialed In” show was from a trucker whose daughter runs a Starbucks. He said on Sundays they drag a big screen TV over to the local Starbucks and all gather there to watch the race.
I’m sick of references to NASCAR fans as if they are stupid -because they are not. They follow one of the most complicated sports in America with mechanical issues and rules that have been created to beat out the most brilliant of engineers. I have discussed this with engineers who came over from F1 who say that the engineers in NASCAR would rival the engineers in any auto sport in the world.
According to Marketing Research the average NASCAR fans has completed a higher level of education than the average American. Now I’m not saying some fans don’t fit the perception that some of America has of this sport’s fan base…but the NASCAR fan base is a cross section.
And that cross section called in to my radio show for three hours straight last night.
Below are some of the emails that I have received. I think they speak to folks like Caleb Hannan whose father is a race fan, but who has not backed up his story with any stats, interviews, background or information. He’s simply trying to pass is one sided bias from Seattle.
I think its great that starbucks is going to be on a nascar car! Like a whole lot of your listeners I am a truck driver. I drink a lot of starbucks coffee but I’m not overweight or scruffy faced although I do have long hair. Anyway I think we should take this guy 1 of those 10 cent instant coffee machines like they have at a lot of shippers! Hell the way you described that pic he probably thinks earnhardt sr is still racing!
Mmm. Starbucks. Good stuff.
It would be cool if you got the president of Starbucks on
I bet they know exactly what they are doing
I think it a smart move
Two big brands makes sense to me
Eugene needs to write for mad magazine
If NASCAR fans stopped drinking starbucks they would have to close more stores.
I am looking forward to getting the email address for the Seattle goober. I am really going to give him a piece of my mind. After spending 5 days in the campgrounds at Talladega, a small piece is all I can afford to. In a way he’s right. I don’t drink Starbucks, but I have been known to by a double espresso or a good friend of mine, who came rushing in off the road and had to go right on the air.
Heck Claire, I don’t drink coffee at all anymore. I gave up tobacco products going on 10 years ago. Some people just feel the need to bash the NASCAR nation. I think it’s a good idea to get this clown on your show and let him find out first hand how wrong he really is.
Your friend in speed
Dennis from Missouri
………………….My wife and I live in North Central Nevada though my wife is originally from the Seattle area. Being as she still has family in the area we spend plenty of time in Seattle drinking ……. yes “Starbucks Coffee“. Oh by the way our entire family are all NASCAR fans.
I find it all rather ironic. The way I see it some 80 to 90 % of the NASCAR fan base makes more annually than this guy, as well they have been exposed to more culture than this guy will ever know. I do understand where he might get this impression though as many of us toothless, barefoot, moonshine run-n heathens travel thousands of miles to camp in a parking-lot in our quarter million dollar Coaches and RV’s just to watch a bunch of cars go around in a circle.
These days ignorance is no excuse for this kind blasphemy. The NASCAR Culture is like no other and is as broad as the world is wide. For this small minded simpleton to express himself and his Starbucks Coffee as somehow better than those of us who are the fans of NASCAR is a travesty. Ultimately I feel sorry for him and his small view of the world we live in.
Claire my family are huge Nascar fans from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.For the past 8 years we’ve made the 2400 mile round trip to the August Michigan race.( Driving)
I was even chosen one of their “Fan of The month” contest winners for October 2006.
Over that time we have met some incredible people. One such couple we like to call the “4 rows over & 3 cars up” people. It seems every year we park in lot 11 our friends usually show up at our car within 1/2 hour. It”s like magic. There’s a huge parking lot but somehow we always manage to find each other.
In 2007 our Nascar friends invited my wife, son & myself to come visit them in Iowa the week before the race of which we accepted. No one knew what the other did for a living & the only common thread was theirs & our love for Nascar. I was shocked to find out my friend was an Attorney at Law. The way he was dressed there was no telling what he did. Turns out he is what I like to call a “weekend Redneck”. Beer & a tee shirt on the weekend & a business suit for the rest of the week. My wife is the same way. Business suit all week & race nut on the weekend. See even Canadians can be “Weekend Rednecks” & know what Clair we love it & wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now that my blood pressure has returned to normal, I would like to elaborate on a couple of items regarding this “article?” in the Seattle paper.
Firstly, I certainly sure that a corporate giant like Starbucks would not invest time or money in a venture that would not be beneficial to their bottom line. To that end, many of your callers (self included) are big coffee drinkers, regardless of profession. Therefore, Starbucks’ step into NASCAR appears to be a nature fit. Here in Canada, many of my coffee buddies are dyed in wool “Tim Horton’s” drinkers, but their passion for the sport is none the less there. These fans included fellow provincial government employees, military personnel, truck drivers (both local & long haul), CPA’s and the list could go on forever. My point is that NASCAR appeals a very WIDE portion of the population.
Secondly, if this gentleman (and I’m trying to be polite!) was to actually step-up and face the fans, he would find his face covered with egg. Tom from Texas (or was it Mike from Cali) said he would be run out of town on a rail. Frankly, I really doubt that Mark (your producer) will convince him to get on air with you and the fans.
Thirdly, for him to say that NASCAR fans would not pay Starbucks’ prices is foolhardy. You know very well how far some of us travel to attend races. Las Vegas for my granddaughter and I is approximately a 3 DAY DRIVE (that’s one way because I’m the only driver, Alyssa is only 7)! Just getting off the island (Vancouver Island) the ferry costs are about $50 + each way. Add in accommodations, meals and GAS, and this calculates to about $1000 just to get there and then home again. Then there’s hotels, meals and tickets (not forgetting souvenirs) once we get there. $4.00 for a coffee seems pretty reasonable, don’t you think!!!!!!!!!!! (Needless to say, this is a once a year trip.)
Anyways, I will get off my “soap box” and will close for now. I would, however, like to say how much I enjoy the 128 Sirius NASCAR station. On my way to work and the drive home is made far more enjoyable because of Sirius. My best wishes to all and keep up the good work.
I am going to search for that journalist’s contact info to let him know how ridiculous and ignorant is his narrow minded, uninformed and insulting view of NASCAR followers. I only caught a part of your show tonight but was totally outraged. I am one more example of everything that contradicts the NASCAR stereotype: I am an Assistant Principal with four college degrees (one at the graduate level and one post-graduate), working in a community that pays $33,000+ in school levy taxes alone. My salary is obviously not very chintzy, in the 6-figure range; and I am a NASCAR nut. My car has Tony Stewart personalized plates (2 DEGA), there is a big #14 on my rear window as well as a bumper sticker proclaiming myself a “Long Island Redneck.” I own and drive a high end RV and love nothing more than living on the road and tailgating on the infield. I can mingle at any black tie affair with a martini on one night and then hang around a campfire sucking down a longneck on the next. How dare this guy suggest that NASCAR fans are uneducated and Starbucks is above us. His article does nothing more but perpetuate the stereotype of how ignorant is the non-NASCAR fan as they have not clue to how intellectually stimulating is our sport.
Thank you for this opportunity to vent. Thank you, too, for another great show!
I drink starbucks am a 35 year NASCAR fan
On behalf of all humans who love Nascar I would like to invite the seattle weekly human to the woodshed for a cup of Starbucks with a lot of Happy Jack in it. Ie. Jack Daniels. Lol
Grand Rapids MN
Hey claire i’am clean a trucker and a NASCAR fan i refuse to pay for coffee at truck stop but I will spend money on a STARBUCKS.Tony TX
Kaleb. Put down the Seattle Best coffee. Borrow some money and buy a cup of Starbucks. Take a drink and wake up and smell the coffee. If you had been drinking Starbucks you’d be awake during the races to be able to actually write something of truth about our sport. Any new sponsor in Nascar is awsome. It even helps expand our fan base. It is the perfect TARGET MARKET for Starbucks. What we save on ticket prices compared to NFL or MLB or NBA we can buy STARBUCKS. And lots of it. Many fans already do. Don't write about things you don't understand. We have all colors and nationalities of fans. Not just white rednecks. Wake up Idiot. Why don't you go write about something more up your alley like SLUG RACING ON SALT FLATS. I really hope your computer gets a virus and melts. Sincerly a very pissed off TRUE FAN of Nascar. Chris in Montana. Thanks for letting me vent Claire B.
And the emails keep coming in. I’ll post more.
What’s your take?