Nascar officials stripped Carl Long and his green and yellow #66 of his hood sponsor Veedverks Friday before the Kansas Cup. Veedverks, a Colorado-based hemp oil vape pen company was deemed to be "detrimental to the sport" and public image. The Veedverks' product was widely reported to be medical marijuana but was actually a 50 state legal hemp oil vape pen. Long had not had the logo properly vetted and approved by Nascar officials before the race. NASCAR said it violated rules governing sponsorship and paint schemes. Long has been no stranger to controversy, since his unpaid $200,000 fine in 2009.
Friday, Long was informed he would have to have his team remove the decal before the car went to the qualifying track at the Kansas Speedway, according to the Associated Press. Long had just returned from an eight-year hiatus dating back to his unpaid fines, an earlier code violation. Just this season his penalty was commuted.
This was Carl Long's first Cup race in a decade. In part, he blamed his mistake on his misspelling of the brand, not fully researching it and not explaining exactly to NASCAR officials what kind of vape pens the company produced. Long attempted to explain himself via Facebook.
"I see alot of negative comments about NASCAR!! Why?? It is our fault we cant spell. We did no research on company, just happy to get a sponsor. The people running NASCAR have been very positive in allowing us back into cup. They are putting a ton of effort into building the sport back up. If this leadership had the same mentality as before, we would still be outside..and this weekend would have never occurred. I work my butt off over 15hrs a day, every day, because its not work when you love doing what you do. Give them a break, they are not trying to beat me down, in fact all have been great in welcoming us back. I am the guy who failed NASCAR. You will find many misspelled or mistype words in my posts. We submitted a mispelled to Nascar. It would never been allowed. Just leave it to me to create a big stink."It's rare you see a NASCAR race car making the circuit with no logo on its hood, but the #66 Chevy is expected to remain bare of the Veedverks logo for now. A spokeswoman for Veedverks, Emalee Hyde, hasn't given up hope of Nascar sponsorship. Already having made it to the hood logo placement (an endorsement that generally costs a great deal more than the $15,000 mustered for the sponsorship), the company is hoping that NASCAR may take into account the 2014 Farm Bill which allows for legal hemp oil production. Hemp-based CBD oil is non-psychoactive and not sourced from cannabis.
Long has already recovered from his near decade long ban from professional racing and what is the most expensive fine to date in the association. Though finally back on good footing with NASCAR, until just recently he still had the financial hurdle of sponsorship to cross. The going rate for one-race sponsorship can run into the hundreds of thousands.
While kicked out of the Kansas Cup, driving teams in other leagues have contacted the Colorado hemp oil brand, according to Veedverks CEO Travis Lippert. Currently, they are still hoping to work with Long in NASCAR. According to Facebook comments by a Veedverks spokesperson: "NASCAR just stole our entire marketing budget and two months' operating cash" and as a result they "need customers big time now." Kurt Culbert, NASCAR Senior Director of Racing Communications says sponsorships are handled on a case-by-case basis. The Veedverks logo is, for now, unceremoniously blotted from view on his vehicle, but the "buzz" for Veedverks may be just beginning.
[Featured Image by Orlin Wagner/AP Images]