Carthage Mayor Mike Harris
released the list of Council members to serve on
the five regular Council Committees during
Tuesdays regular meeting. New Council
members were sworn in.
Most City ordinances and
modifications are worked out in the various
Committees and then presented to the Council for
Claude Newport will serve a
chair of the Budget Ways and Means Committee with
members John Studebaker, T.J. Teed, and Ed
T.J. Teed will chair the
Fianncial/Personnel Adminstration Committee with
Claude Newport, John Cooper, and an appointee to
Brent Greninger will Chair the
Public Service Committee with Steve Leibbrand,
the appointee, and John Cooper.
Dan Rife will chair the Public
Safety Committee with Brent Greninger, Steve
Leibbrand, and Jim Swatsenbarg.
John Studebaker will chair the
Public Works Committee with Dan Rife, Ed
Hardesty, and Jim Swatsenbarg.
NASCAR THIS WEEK
The Rise and Fall of Brand
How important is "brand
loyalty"? Well, its more important to
NASCAR than it was five years ago, because its
officials are talking about it again.
They still talk more often
about the NASCAR brand, as in every other
paragraph. But what about Chevy? What about Ford?
And Dodge? And, yes ... Toyota?
Five years ago, the unofficial
position was that fans were no longer interested
in "brand loyalty." NASCAR fans were
interested only in individual drivers. That, of
course, was a useful rationalization at a time
when the cars of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide
series were being made indistinguishable from one
This I can say. When I started
writing about NASCAR, more or less full-time, in
1993, brand loyalty was greater than it is now.
Those were the days when Id be stuck in
traffic on the way into Martinsville Speedway,
marveling at the rarity of Chevys with Bill
Elliott stickers and Fords with Dale
Earnhardts. Now the stickers have little
correlation with the fans cars. A Dale
Earnhardt Jr. sticker in the rear windshield is
about as likely to be on a Hyundai as a Chevy.
But I dont think
its dead. I still think Carl Edwards sells
Fords and Kevin Harvick sells Chevys,
particularly when they win.
This, by the way, has always
been my suspicion. The kind of car is important
in the formative stages of a fans NASCAR
addiction. He or she starts following a driver
based -- at least in part -- on the car. Once
that allegiance is formed, the fan follows the
driver if he changes teams or manufacturers, even
if it hurts a little.
When Rusty Wallace switched
from Pontiac to Ford (and later to Dodge), it
caused considerable angst among his fans. But
they moved grudgingly. Few drivers spend their
entire careers with one manufacturer. Even
Earnhardt drove Fords for two years. When last we
saw Elliott, once the darling of Ford fans, he
was in a Chevy. One reason Ford fans have a
special place in their hearts for Edwards, Matt
Kenseth and Greg Biffle is that, so far, they
have spent their entire Cup careers driving cars
with blue ovals on the hoods.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.s fans
swallowed their pride when he switched from one
Chevy team to another, but if he showed up one
week in a Toyota, it would still create come
The reason that brand loyalty
diminished, quite possibly, is that the brands
themselves diminished. The fans are smart enough
to notice that when the principal difference
between the cars is the shape of a simulated
headlight decal ... well, its not much of a
difference. NASCAR stopped caring about being
able to tell one make from another, and the fans
stopped caring, too. They had little choice.
The trend has reversed. The
Nationwide Series introduced new models that are
discernible from one another even for fans who
have no extensive knowledge of exactly how the
indented lines on the hoods are sculpted.
Adjustments to the noses have been made in Cup,
and individual differences are being incorporated
in a redesign scheduled for 2013.