The future for CBD in NASCAR is looking brighter and brighter each day. Here are 3 NASCAR drivers helping to fuel the CBD cause!
By: Jon Huffman-Eddy
Oh, NASCAR; images of beer cozies, hot summer days and tank tops just a bit too small come to mind. So, too, do the sounds of a race. If you’ve never been to a NASCAR event, imagine forty cars, all of them pushing around 800 horsepower – for the record, if you’re driving around and see a souped up Mustang on the road, that thing’s maxing out at 400hp – and more than 100,000 spectators in the stands. You’ve got your hotdog and a drink in a red solo cup, and the way the stands are designed allows you to be above the action, looking down on the race track’s strip of dark black asphalt, perfectly smooth and clean of any pebbles or cracks.
Then, you hear the cars start their engines. There’s a slight tremor in your cup. The words infernal fury and guttural glory come to mind and they haven’t even given their engines any real gas yet. Depending on how far away from the starting line you’re standing, the cars could look like shiny, colorful bugs, with the various colors of their sponsors’ brand logos painted and lacquered onto their hoods and canopies. Over the PA, an announcer counts them down, while the flagman stands in a crow’s nest above the starting line, raising a green flag.
For a moment, there is stillness. The cars and their drivers are coiled. The fans all hold their breath. Then, the flag drops and flickers and the racers erupt off the line. You feel it in your chest, as if your own internal engine is revving, up and as the cars pass you, you can even seem to feel the vibration in that hotdog pinched between your fingers.
Amidst all this high-octane, gas-guzzling combustion, it might be hard to imagine any semblance of chill existing really anywhere in the sport. And you’d be, for the most part, correct. But, imagine you’re the driver, inches away from the inferno, at the eye of the storm, on the front lines. Even someone who tempts fate with his occupation each day is bound to be searching for ways to improve his daily lifestyle.
We’ve put together a little list of NASCAR drivers who have become one with CBD:
#1. Matt Tifft
Matt Tifft is the kind of kid who grew up behind the wheel of machines. You could say he learned how to drive before he knew how to walk, perhaps even before he was born! Who’s to say? At the age of 11, he started racing go-carts at the national level in Ohio – that’s right, all you Mario Cart fans, this is a thing that you can do professionally!
By the age of 15, he’d outgrown those vehicles; either because he got taller or because he got better, we’re not really sure. Either way you cut it, he wound up behind the wheel of a stock car in a semi-professional capacity. In 2012, he won rookie of the year, and his rise to the level of NASCAR was fast from there.
In 2015, at the age of 18, he got his big break and started racing for the creme de la creme of American race-car driving. At 23, he’s poised to take the sport by storm but due to medical reasons has decided to take the 2020 season off to focus on recovery. He’s somebody we’ll be keeping our eye on.
Tifft is a CBD aficionado, and has been vocal in his support for the compound. He has even gone as far as requesting that NASCAR remove CBD oils from its list of banned substances. Like many other organizations, NASCAR has previously viewed CBD in a negative light, but with stars like Tifft backing it, we may see some change in the future!
#2. Carl Long
Carl’s a man from a different era, one of those grizzled veterans with a steady hand and old, keen eyes. Before getting into racing in a serious capacity, he managed a pizza restaurant in North Carolina, a store where he still to this day holds the record for fastest delivery. You could say, perhaps, that racing was in his blood, too.
From there, he began racing in small circuits in Orange County and Boston. Then in 1992, he competed in his first NASCAR-sanctioned race, putting him on the map for competitions around the world. In 1999, at the age of 33, Carl Long joined the ranks of NASCAR drivers full-time.
There’s a bit of controversy associated with the name. In 2009, he was fined for having an engine over regulation size, and since then he has taken a step back from professional racing. Now, at 52, he’s begun mounting a comeback, and this time he’s doing it with a prominent CBD sponsorship backing his run.
#3. Ricky Lewis
If you’ve ever seen the movie Talladega Nights, you know the name and the legend of Ricky Bobby. See, when you put a two-syllable first name next to a two-syllable last name, it’s actual racing science that what comes out the other side is a guaranteed winner. There’s just something about the poetry of the name. When it comes to Ricky Lewis, we’re sure it’s destined to be the same.
His story starts early, as well. When his mother was pregnant with him, their family would go to see the Sprintcar races at their home track in Ventura, California, every Saturday night. Whenever the main event would start, little Ricky would start kicking away in his mother’s tummy.
At 20, he’s rising through the ranks in Sprintcar racing, having notched his 15th championship in January of 2020. He’s currently sponsored by a California CBD company, among other companies, who’ve backed his dream of racing for NASCAR.
To date, NASCAR has continued to prohibit CBD company sponsorships, even while allowing alcohol sponsorships across the sport. Some speculate that CBD, which is federally legal in all 50 states, will be the next sponsor for the sport. But who knows? Sky’s the limit, isn’t it? We know we’ll be watching in hopeful anticipation!