Personally, I don't think even Mello Yello should get exclusivity. Like David pointed out, as title rights sponsor, they're going to get the lion's share of the exposure anyway, as they should. I would also echo his statement regarding the quality of one's product being good enough to not fear, but welcome competition. Especially if that competition could result in more competitor participation and lead to more fans in the stands and watching on television. Competition fosters better products to start with, but that's a completely different discussion. But to exclude other beverage companies from possibly coming in and backing a team or two doesn't make any sense to me. Not in this climate.Just to clarify, being an "Official Partner of NHRA" does not close the door on competing sponsors. The Series Sponsor Mello Yello get's exclusivity, they are the only one.
A couple of examples.
Toyota is the Official Car of NHRA. Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge all have a Very Big presence in the pits and the sport.
Lucas is the Official Oil, but Pennzoil sponsors cars, teams, and races. Red Line and others are also heavily involved
Summit is the Official Mail Order, but JEGS is everywhere.
That's just a few,
They hit the nail square on the head with the demographic, as far as I'm concerned. The current crop of younger fans really should be attracted to this sport as the data appears to suggest. So I would have to agree that something is certainly wrong/broken. Communication is key, no matter if you're talking about relationships with your kids, boss, spouse or whatever. Those hard conversations HAVE to happen in order to be successful. And those conversations always go much better when they're sooner than later. The longer you let anything fester, the worse it gets.
To say egos are involved is to say the surface of the sun is hot. Hopefully both sides can park their respective egos soon and the key players can nut-up and have that hard conversation for the betterment of the sport.