Brandon Brown has a sponsor to fund his full-time Xfinity Series efforts this year, but getting them on track is still a work in progress.
Brown’s team, Brandonbilt Motorsports, issued a new statement Sunday morning about getting approval from NASCAR officials for its sponsor and paint scheme. On Dec. 30, Brown announced that cryptocurrency meme coin LGBcoin.io would be the primary partner on his No. 86 Chevrolet and released an accompanying video and paint scheme.
However, NASCAR officials subsequently said nothing had been approved, and the team had jumped the gun with its announcement. Teams have always had to get NASCAR approval on sponsors and paint schemes before putting a car on the track.
Sunday, the team stated, “We are very aware and appreciative of the process required to approved sponsors and paint schemes and would not attempt to circumvent that process. Brandonbilt Motorsports submitted our most recent sponsors and paint scheme to NASCAR, following the standard approval process that we have undertaken many times before without issue. We received written approval on the sponsors from a NASCAR Racing Operations official on December 26, 2021. The team subsequently moved forward with an announcement only after being provided with this approval.
“The sponsor approval was unambiguous — the first four words of the email from NASCAR state, ‘The sponsors are approved …’ The only feedback offered was related to minor graphic design changes to ensure legibility on the track at 170mph. We will continue to work with NASCAR and look forward to resolving this matter and clearing the air as soon as possible.”
LGBcoin is a new decentralized meme cryptocurrency dubbed “America’s Coin” based on the “Let’s Go Brandon” chants. Brown became an unwilling internet sensation after his first win at Talladega Superspeedway in early October when fans in the background of his frontstretch winner’s interview began chanting a vulgar phrase directed at President Joe Biden. However, NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast said the crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” to support the race winner. The slogan that quickly spread to other sporting areas and online.
Brown was relatively silent on the topic until late last month. The New York Times did a profile on Brown published on Dec. 19, titled “Brandon Brown just wants to drive his race car.” In the piece, Brown said he has “zero desire” to be involved in politics.
A day later, on Dec. 20, Brown shared an op-ed he wrote for Newsweek. Brown noted that in the wake of the controversy, he turned down many media requests and that he was “afraid” of being canceled by his sponsors or by the media. He also reiterated he has no interest in being amidst a political fight and will not endorse any candidate or share who he’s voted for.
However, Brown did say he would spend the ’22 season spotlighting important issues to him and Americans, ending the piece with “Let’s Go America.”
Then in the announcement of his new sponsor, James Koutoulas, the leading LGBcoin holder, said if they do their jobs right when hearing about LGBcoin and hearing the “Let’s Go Brandon” chant, then “you’ll think and feel, ‘Let’s Go America.’”
NASCAR has made clear it wants no part of the political meme. Asked about the chant during his season-ending address in Phoenix and the NASCAR logo being associated with it on t-shirts, NASCAR president Steve Phelps said:
“It’s an unfortunate situation. I feel for Brandon . I feel for Kelli . I think, unfortunately, it speaks to the state of where we are as a country. We do not want to associate ourselves with politics, the left or the right. We obviously have, and we’ve always had as a sport, tremendous respect for the office of the president no matter who is sitting.
“Do we like the fact that it kind of started with NASCAR and then is gaining ground elsewhere? No, we’re not happy about that. But we will continue to make sure that we have respect for the office of the president.
“With respect to the trademarks used on that statement, to the degree they’re using a NASCAR logo, we will pursue whoever that is and get that stopped. It’s not OK that you’re using our trademarks illegally, regardless of whether we agree with what the position is or not.”
There is no timeline on a resolution between NASCAR and Brown’s team as the approval process continues.