Mar 15, 2010 at 02:49 PM
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Scotts 'Very Concerned' About On-Track Incident

Undoubtedly whether you're a NASCAR fan or not, you've seen the Scotts logo on top of the Number 99 car that Carl Edwards used to wreck Brad Keselowski at Atlanta Motor Speedway last week. NASCAR placed Edwards on probation for three races and while virtually every pundit has had their say -- one commentator, with millions invested in the outcome, issued their statement last Friday.

Here's the statement from Edwards' sponsor, Scotts:

Scotts appreciates the support of NASCAR fans everywhere, and we have an excellent relationship with Carl Edwards, Jack Roush and the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing team. However, like many fans, we were very concerned about the on-track incident that occurred in Atlanta this past weekend.

As a result, we have strongly expressed these concerns to both Carl and Jack, and we are confident that they have a clear understanding of the trust we have placed in them as ambassadors of our company, our associates and our brands.

In addition, as a sponsor, we want to make sure that drivers, race teams and NASCAR focus on keeping these types of incidents and misjudgments from happening.

We hope you'll continue supporting Scotts and NASCAR, and we're looking forward to the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 20th.

Edwards' primary sponsor, AFLAC, issued a boiler plate statement: “While we don’t discuss the specific details of our partnerships, we trust that the on-track incident will remain just that and was handled appropriately by NASCAR.”

There is no doubt that Scotts has every right to issue a statement, especially given that the Scotts brand was literally in the middle of it. With car sponsors so closely tied to their racers persona, many consider the statement a smart PR move. Others see the public, but relatively generic statement as a risky move. Come down too hard and Scotts risks alienating some of the very fans they've worked so hard to build a relationship with through the sponsorship. Confirm continued support at a time when the incident is so fresh in the mind of race fans and the brand could receive backlash from a broader spectrum of NASCAR fans. As one commenter wrote on Scotts own website:

As I believe the drivers represent their sponsor companies, Edwards has given Scotts a black mark and although Scott's has acknowledged it, they should have pulled their sponsorship for one or more races. Perhaps that is the only thing which will get through to the 99 race team. We will give our hard earned money to a company not affiliated with them.

Do you think that Scotts made the right move in making the statement they did at this time?