KANSAS CITY, Kansas — If you’re trying to make a return to Cup racing for the first time since NASCAR fined you a couple hundred grand almost a decade ago, and you don’t have much financial backing, well, you might be tempted to take sponsor money from wherever it comes.
Even a medical marijuana-like company.
Carl Long, last seen in a Cup race way back in 2009, before NASCAR fined him $200,000, rolled into Kansas Speedway Friday with very little funding, even less sleep and an interesting sponsor on the hood of his race car: Veedverks.
What is Veedverks? Well, it’s hard to know exactly, since the company’s “About Us” page reads like this:
We all see the world from a different perspective, but few experience the view afforded to us from the control cabin of our mighty rigid airship. We grace the Rocky Mountain skyline with our powerful and elegant dirigible. The hum of our powerful engines comforts the world below with the sound of freedom. The sun sets on the foothills as we cast a fading shadow over the Mile High city.
The Denver-based company’s products include Indica, Sativa and Hybrid “experiences” that, according to testimonials on their website, are great for bad backs, so draw your own conclusions.
NASCAR has. All potential sponsors have to be approved by the sanctioning body, and Friday NASCAR just said no to Veedverks.
NASCAR didn’t cite a specific reason for the denial, but Section 7.6.2.a of the NASCAR rule book says “NASCAR may refuse to permit a Competitor to participate in an Event if NASCAR determines that any advertising, sponsorship, or similar agreement to which the Competitor is or will be a party, is detrimental to the sport, to NASCAR, Series Sponsor, or to the Promoter for any reason, including without limitation, the public image of the sport.”
While Veedverks claims its products are legal in all 50 states, its three types of cartridges contain trace amounts of THC, the principal psychoactive in marijuana.
Long left Charlotte at 6 a.m. Thursday morning, driving his own hauler, and arrived at Kansas Speedway around Midnight. It had been eight years since he last attempted to qualify for a Cup race.
Back in 2009, he attempted the qualifying race for the All-Star Race, but made it just three laps and finished last. During post-race inspection, NASCAR deemed that Long’s engine – which he said he got from a supplier – was 0.17 inches too big. The sanctioning body fined the team $200,000. At that point, it was the largest monetary fine in NASCAR history.
Long couldn’t afford it, so for the past seven seasons he was banned from the Cup Series garage.
He hasn’t been gone from NASCAR entirely. He’s run 96 Xfinity Series races, 12 Camping World Truck Series races and is listed as the owner of MBM Motorsports, which fields the Nos. 13 and 40 cars in the Xfinity Series.
But you don’t get rich in NASCAR’s bottom two series unless you have a big-dollar sponsor. And Long hasn’t had a big-dollar sponsor.
Before the 2017 season, he satisfied his requirements regarding the fine, according to NASCAR, and was allowed back into the Cup garage.
On May 5, he put a plea out for $25,000 for a company to sponsor him for this weekend’s Go Bowling 400. The going rate for a one-race sponsorship with a top Cup Series team can be 10 times that amount, or even more. But Long just needed some money from someone.
“I put out a number, here it is,” Long said. “Most standard deals are about 300 grand, $250,000. I know I’m not going to be Jeff Gordon and [Dale Earnhardt Jr.] and all that kind of stuff, but this week coming back, I’m going to get a lot of press. And if someone can get us [$25,000], we can get here.”