NASCAR Winner's Circle Question

Kevin Harvick, whose car is sponsored by Budweiser, won today’s race at Martinsville. The goings on in the Winner’s Circle were typical of what you normally see. However, Harvick was drinking out of a red “Budweiser” can. I kinda doubt NASCAR would allow the consumption of alcohol by anyone, let alone a driver, anywhere in the track area. Anyone know if the contents of the can was really beer?

They aren’t allowed to drink any alcohol 12 hours before a race. As soon as they get into victory lane though, it’s on.

Years ago when I drove in a lower NASCAR touring series, Victory Lane was the front stretch and the top 3 cars from the race would stop there after the race. My 2 trips there (both 3rd place finishes) resulted in being handed an ice cold Coors Lights within seconds of climbing from my car. Guess who sponsored the Victory Lane celebration?

FYI, the name Winner’s Circle is not used, it’s Victory Lane. Winner’s Circle is the name of a program in NASCAR that guarantees a certain amount of money is paid to the top finishers of each race. Trevor Bayne’s Daytona win put the Wood Brothers in the Winner’s Circle program and now means an extra $25,000 to $50,000 per race to that team, that is one of the reasons they are now running races they did not plan on running before the win.

In Formula One races it is champagne they spray and drink, except in the Arab countries where they substitute a local non alcoholic drink. So I imagine they allow real Bud.

There was a dispute a few years ago when a Coca-Cola product, Powerade, sponsored Victory lane and when a Pepsi-winning driver like Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson won. they would knock over the Powerade. NASCAR told them to stop so when Gordon won at Indianapolis he kissed the bricks but somehow forgot to go to Victory Lane.

I don’t know if they still do it now but old timers like Dick Trickle would take advantage of a caution during a race to “get me some nicotine”, ie smoke a cigarette. Of course back then the series was sponsored by Marlboro so Trickle would put his cigarettes in a Marlboro pack.

Of course heaven help the Indy Car driver who doesn’t drink the traditional milk for winning. Emerson Fittipaldi still gets booed for drinking orange juice to promote his business in 1989 (he drank the milk off camera).

NASCAR was sponsored by the Winston tobacco brand for years…Marlboro was strictly associated with Indycars in the States because NASCAR allowed Winston to be the only cigarette brand associated with them.

And Emmo’s OJ thing was after his second Indy win in 1993. Oh yeah, that was a very uncomfortable moment. Those feelings were also very strongly mixed up in the CART/IRL split politics too.