Oh, corporate America, the pettiest of all Americas. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez played along with a seemingly innocent TV segment before a race in July, where he helped pass out donuts. Two months later, Subway dropped its sponsorship of him, effective immediately.
Suarez was on a pre-race NBC broadcast before the New Hampshire Motor Speedway race in the summer, which usually features pre-packaged segments with different drivers and people in the sport. His role this time was to help NBC analyst Rutledge Wood pass out donuts to fans for “Desayuno [breakfast] with Daniel,” conveniently provided by known NBC partner Dunkin’ Donuts.
The segment has been on NBC’s NASCAR Twitter and Facebook accounts since July 16, but is now gone. The posts appear for both accounts in Google’s cached, historic versions of the webpages at the time of publishing, but the videos aren’t able to be played and Jalopnik could not find a copy of the segment online.
As bad as it is, both social-media posts started with a similar quoted phrase: “Has Carl Edwards ever given you a donut?” Edwards drove the Subway car for years before announcing an unexpected retirement after 2016, and Suarez got bumped up to the Cup Series to take his place. Hindsight is always 20/20 on those social-media posts, right?
And even though Subway does have breakfast items, passing out donuts when the TV crew asked you to isn’t as blatant as having a Pepsi-drinking contest when you’re a Coca-Cola driver. Let’s be real—the people who to go to Subway are probably not the same people who want to have donuts for breakfast.
But that didn’t matter to Subway, and ESPN reported over the holiday weekend that the company said it “had to terminate its sponsorship of Daniel Suarez” due to “circumstances beyond [its] control.” Suarez’s team, Joe Gibbs Racing, told ESPN the segment was Subway’s issue when it ended the deal.
It seems odd that it would take Subway so long to make that decision rather than doing the usual, knee-jerk pettiness reaction and announcing it the day the segment aired, but it’ll still impact the car. ESPN reports that Subway was the primary sponsor on four of Suarez’s cars this year, and that this means he’ll lose out on the final one.
Joe Gibbs Racing originally told ESPN that Suarez didn’t violate any morals clause to make Subway end its sponsorship so abruptly, but you know how that morality stuff goes at Subway sometimes. Who cares! It’s nothing compared to passing out some sugary bread with another company’s name on it.