FENWICK: Much Ado About Nothing

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Monster Energy
Kurt Busch poses with two Monster Energy Girls at Daytona Int’l Speedway. (HHP/Ashley Dickerson Photo)
Adam Fenwick

CONCORD, N.C. — Monster Energy has officially arrived on the scene as the title sponsor of NASCAR’s Cup Series and many fans quickly found a reason to complain.

While following social media during Speedweeks at Daytona Int’l Speedway, we saw more than a few people commenting on the presence of Monster Energy. Something we found to be a bit troubling were the opinions of several people regarding the Monster Energy girls.

For those that are perhaps unaware, Monster Energy has traditionally employed beautiful young ladies as brand ambassadors. They have had a consistent presence at Monster Energy AMA Supercross events, for example, so it was no real surprise when they arrived on the scene in NASCAR as the brand took over sponsorship of the Cup Series.

What is evidently bothering some fans is how the Monster Energy girls dress compared to the young ladies who represented the Cup Series’ previous title sponsor, Sprint. For comparison, the brand ambassadors from Sprint wore fire suits when making appearances in victory lane or anywhere else on a NASCAR weekend.

The Monster Energy girls, by comparison, were wearing tight pants and low-cut tops that showed off their — let’s just say  — assets. Apparently, this was something with which some NASCAR fans had an issue.

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My response to this is simple — look at history. Trophy girls have been a regular staple at racing events throughout history and let’s be real, a lot of them have been more scantly clad than the Monster Energy girls.

Don’t believe me? Go to Google and search for vintage photos of Linda Vaughn. If you don’t know who Vaughn is, she is considered by many to be the first beauty queen of auto racing. You’ll find tons of photos of Vaughn wearing a lot less than the Monster Energy girls will wear this year.

Vaughn and the Monster Energy girls are just a few examples of beautiful ladies being used as a promotional tool. It is a common practice in European racing with both Formula One and MotoGP utilizing women in a similar manner. They’ve earned the moniker “grid girls” by many because they are frequently found on the grid of F-1 and MotoGP events, holding flags or wearing promotional clothing to promote sponsors.

Sure, trophy queens aren’t as common as they once were and they’re used a bit differently than they use to be. You didn’t see Jimmie Johnson getting a big smooch in victory lane from a beautiful lady after winning his seventh Cup Series championship last year like you might have seen in the 1970s or ’80s.

Instead, the beautiful ladies are in the background, standing behind Johnson or whomever the race winner or championship winner might be on that given day. They’re still there and they’re still a part of our sport, just not the way they once were.

In fact, trophy girls are still used at some short-track events around the country. Even a few years ago when the old Pro Cup Series was still operating, it used trophy girls hired by series sponsor Revolution Oil in victory lane. Some race tracks even have annual competitions to choose that year’s trophy queen.

So, once again, I say to anyone complaining about the wardrobe of the Monster Energy girls — look at history. By comparison, the young ladies representing Monster Energy really weren’t wearing anything that controversial. In fact, we’d wager they were a lot more comfortable than the young ladies who represented Sprint while wearing those hot fire suits.

While everyone may not like it, trophy queens have been around in motorsports for longer than this writer has been alive and will likely be here until well after we’re gone.

If this is something you feel compelled to complain about, we’d suggest another topic upon which to voice your opinion.