While Hendrick Motorsports drivers standout due to their dominance, the four drivers have been standing out for another reason, which begged for an explanation.
As Daytona creeped closer and closer, fans noticed something strange – the last names of the four Hendrick drivers were on the front windshield instead of the “Monster Energy” branding. On the LIONEL Racing die-cast renderings, the same problem appeared on nearly every HMS die-cast render. The driver suits even featured an empty space where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series decal belonged.
So whats the deal? Turns out its a sponsorship conflict with long-time Hendrick partner PepsiCo., and their Mountain Dew brand.
Monster Energy is owned by the Coca-Cola Company, which is the main competitor to PepsiCo. The Coca-Cola Company puts out a beverage entitled “Monster Mutant”, which is the direct competitor to the Mountain Dew beverage, both sugary, citrus-flavored drinks. As per NASCAR regulations, all drivers are required to run the Series Title sponsor across the front windshield of the car, as well as a contingency decal on either side of the car on the contingency panel.
Choosing to honor their PepsiCo. contract, Hendrick Motorsports in the pre-season, failed to put most traces of Monster Energy on their car, as well as on merchandising such as T-Shirts and die-casts. However, Hendrick Motorsports, PepsiCo., and Monster Energy all reached an agreement, and Rick Hendrick addressed the situation.
“When our cars are at the track, they’ll have the Monster logo on the windshield and on the side of the car and guys will have it on their uniform,” Hendrick stated.
Monster Energy Vice President Mitch Covington showed good hearted commentary towards the Hendrick Motorsports teams not placing Monster decals on their car, but applaud Hendrick Motorsports for their actions.
“They’ve got a good sponsor they need to take care of. We don’t have any problem with Mr. Hendrick or his team or his drivers. We think they’re great.”