The NASCAR Phenomenon: Auto Racing Sponsorships and Shareholder Wealth

Stephen W. Pruitt
University of Missouri—Kansas City

T. Bettina Cornwell
University of Queensland

John M. Clark
University of Southern

Authors are grateful to Max Muhleman, president of IMG/Muhleman Marketing, JAR editor Joseph Plummer, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments.

“When a sponsor spends money, they want a return on their investment.”

Bill King, Sports Business Journal

BORN IN 1948 of the most humble circumstances, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (now known simply as NASCAR), through careful attention to both its fan base and the quality of its product, has grown dramatically over the years to become the most popular form of automobile racing in the United States (Isidore, 2002). Indeed, to the vast majority of American racing fans, NASCAR is autoracing, and the on-track exploits of its heroes—both names from the past such as David Pearson, Daryl Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, and Richard Petty, and names of the present such as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.—have, in many quarters, attained a status bordering on folklore.