America already runs on Dunkin’, and we think the No. 19 Toyota should as well.
It’s not Dunkin’ Donuts fault that Subway severed ties with Daniel Suarez and Joe Gibbs Racing, but the fact that it did presents the Canton, Mass.-based chain with a golden opportunity to make its foray into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Subway on Saturday backed out of its contract with JGR because Suarez played along with an NASCAR on NBC segment, in which he helped distribute donuts to fans at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
JGR was caught off guard by the decision, given that “Donuts with Daniel Suarez” took place in July, and as a result, many fans as well as former driver Mark Martin have sympathized with the team and its rookie driver. In a sport in which teams and racers alike rely on financial support from corporate partners, Subway’s exiting with one race remaining on its 2017 deal has painted it as the villain in the situation.
Dunkin’ understandably hasn’t been taking any heat for JGR losing one of its long-time sponsors. It likely had no way of knowing NBC would use its products while filming the spot, nor that Subway would drop Suarez for his part in the segment.
As a result, Dunkin’ Donuts has the chance to swoop in and be the hero in this story. The company has never dipped its toes in the NASCAR pool, and by doing so now, it would be able to maximize its return on investment.
As NASCAR — like many sports — is seeing a decline in viewership and attendance, sponsorship landscape is rapidly changing, with some brands reducing their involvement and others staying away from the sport altogether. Dunkin’ Donuts, however, would receive a lot of positive publicity if it signs a deal with JGR to sponsor the No. 19, even before the pink-and-orange car ever turns a wheel.
Subway was slated to sponsor Suarez’s car in the Alabama 500, which admittedly wouldn’t be the ideal race for a Dunkin’ Donuts paint scheme, as the company has no locations in that state. That said, the national attention it would receive might be enough to make it worth while for Dunkin’.
Plus, even though Dunkin’ Donuts has “3,200 international restaurants across 36 countries,” according to its website, it currently has only five stores in Mexico and they’re all in Mexico City. If it ever had hopes of expanding its reach south of the border, there’s no better way to do so than by partnering with first Mexican driver to race in Cup.
JGR still will need a new sponsor for Suarez’s car in 2018, as Subway ended its deal while the two parties were in talks to extend it into next season. But if Dunkin’ Donuts waits to back him, it probably won’t get as much bang for its buck.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images