Sorry, anyone who dreams of puff-puff-passing the competition on a banked oval thanks to some help from the legal weed industry. NASCAR just said no to Carl Long running with a hemp vape shop as a sponsor, reports ESPN. Long is racing in the top-level Cup Series for the first time in eight years after receiving NASCAR’s largest ever fine in 2009.
Colorado-based Veedverks originally adorned Long’s car for the weekend, however, NASCAR officials made him remove their logos from Long’s No. 66 car. NASCAR told ESPN that Veedverks’ sponsorship decals were never vetted and approved before they were added to Long’s car, as has to happen with every livery tweak. [See updates below.]
Long sent out an ultra-last-minute request for more funding earlier this month, so there’s a good chance that Veedwerks wasn’t in on time, or that he may not have been completely familiar with the current regulations after spending eight years out of Cup.
Long drove his own hauler to Kansas Speedway for this weekend’s race, leaving North Carolina at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning and arriving around midnight that night, notes Yahoo Sports. I’ll cut the guy some slack here, and I wish NASCAR had done the same.
NASCAR wouldn’t give Long any leeway after his team was assessed the sport’s largest ever fine, going so far to ban him from the Cup Series garages when Long couldn’t afford to pay up. NASCAR should owe Long a favor over that.
While NASCAR does reserve the right to nix any sponsorship deals that are “detrimental to the sport, to NASCAR, Series Sponsor, or to the Promoter for any reason,” no other objections were cited to the type of business Veedverks is. Maybe there’s hope that a legal weed sponsor on a team who follows the right procedures regarding sponsorship and paint schemes can put their name on a NASCAR race car someday. Hey, the money’s there. Why not use it to race cars?
The hilarious thing is, Veedverks is probably getting more attention from being nixed from Long’s hood than they would have if they had been allowed to keep their logo on Long’s car. If NASCAR had any uptight objections to that good ol’ sticky icky icky, it’s backfiring spectacularly.
Update [10:28 a.m.]: Veedverks says that they did get the sponsorship approved by NASCAR, contradicting what NASCAR’s spokesman told ESPN. Veedverks CEO Travis Lippert called NASCAR’s flip-flop decision out in a particularly scathing press release:
Veedverks is a small, veteran owned and operated business that is creating American manufacturing jobs. We entered this sport while other sponsors are leaving in droves. Now we know why. We hoped this sponsorship opportunity would provide the return on investment that NASCAR claims to deliver. But even though our logo is no longer on Carl’s hood, we remain Carl’s primary sponsor. Unlike NASCAR, our word is our bond. We are proud to sponsor Carl’s return and to educate NASCAR fans and officials about the legality and health benefits of hemp oil, such as our vape pens. Veedverks has been severely damaged by NASCAR’s actions today. We are just thankful they haven’t stolen the tires we bought him.
Veedverks also clarified that their hemp-derived products are fifty-state-legal despite the heady-sounding name. Fortunately, they’re sticking by Long with their contribution to his team, although they’re none too pleased with the series he’s running in at the moment.
We’ve since reached out to NASCAR for comment as to why Veedverks’ sponsorship was removed and clarified some of the language above. [H/T Mark!]
Update #2 [12:11 p.m.]: Everything came down to a miscommunication on this one. Carl Long Motorsports explained what happened in a Facebook post: they misspelled their sponsor as “Veeoverks” in the rush to push it through. When NASCAR couldn’t find any information on the company, they asked Long what it was, he said it was a vape company—which NASCAR allows under their guidelines.
Unfortunately, they don’t appear to allow any cannabis-related products at all to sponsor a cars, even ones like Veedverks that are legal outside the few states that have legalized marijuana use. Long posted that NASCAR nixed Veedverks as a sponsor as Veedverks “do not meet standards Nascar has established for teams.”
Long was highly apologetic about the fact that (in his words on Facebook) “It is our fault we can’t spell.”