Controversial sponsor stepping back from NASCAR

Barstool Sports has quietly parted ways with NASCAR.  The controversial site had been supporting NASCAR since last year after founder Dave Portnoy visited Bristol Motor Speedway in 2018 and took a liking to the sport.

Barstool Sports started out as a free newspaper in the Boston area before coming online. The site became popular has a male oriented site that has plenty of women-oriented pieces with such stories as “Grayson Allen Was Back At Duke, But His Smokeshow Girlfriend Morgan Reid Stole The Show”.  They even have a Chicks at Barstool section featuring stories like “I Agreed To Coffee With Sex Dungeon Guy As Long As The Boys Go Too” and “Miley Cyrus Wants You To Pleasure Yourself On This Lovely Valentine’s Day.”  In the past they have run recurring blogs such as “Guess That Ass” and “Guess That Rack.”

The Barstool site was bought in 2016 but Portnoy still runs the site and has creative control.  He is worshipped by his “stoolies’ who seem ready to defend him no matter what. Several women have accused the company and Portnoy of creating a culture that attacks women, especially those who dare to question them. He has allegedly had his Stoolies take to social media to attack the sites’ critics, especially women.

Earlier this year Portnoy tangled online with Jim Utter a veteran NASCAR reporter.  Portnoy unleashed his “Stoolies” on Utter the feud only ending when Utter blocked Portnoy and his followers.

Barstool made its first appearance at Daytona in 2019 for the season opening Daytona 500. The company twice sponsored Matt DiBenedetto when he as at Leavine Family Racing last season and Clint Bowyer for a virtual race and at Talladega in June. Bowyer and Portnoy had also started a podcast together that stopped with the pandemic hit.

According to Sports Business Daily, Portnoy indicated late in September that Barstool Sports will be stepping away from NASCAR perhaps due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or perhaps due to recent Black Lives Matter events.

“Hopefully we re-look at [the deal] in a year or so — so, obviously, I love Clint [Bowyer], friendly, like him in every way he can be liked — this guy is a good dude. So COVID happened, we stopped, we start picking up a little bit but it’s like: ‘Do I have to go to the office?’ And then to be honest, NASCAR had so many (Black Lives Matter) issues, and I started having BLM issues, and it just was like: ‘Is this the right time for either of us to co-join just from an aesthetics point of view?’ And the answer was probably like: ‘Let’s let it settle,’ it was probably better for both. “

During the summer NASCAR banned the Confederate Flag at races and had to respond to a noose incident at Talladega.  Bubba Wallace, the only fulltime Black driver in the top tier Cup series took a more prominent role including a very visible moment for the sport which has its roots in the South when drivers united behind Wallace, pushing his car to the front of the field on pit road at Talladega and standing behind him. Wallace also ran a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme.

NASCAR confirmed to Sports Business Daily that it is not currently spending money with Barstool Sports, adding that it has adjusted its marketing and media spends due to the ongoing pandemic.

Greg Engle