NASCAR has denied approval of the sponsorship deal between driver Brandon Brown and a cyptocurrency inspired by the anti-Joe Biden “Let’s go Brandon” meme, a spokesman for the driver told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday.
Max Marcucci, who represents the Brown and his team at Brandonbilt Motorsports, said NASCAR rejected the sponsorship after initially providing written approval of the car’s paint scheme and sponsorship for the upcoming season of the Xfinity Series, NASCAR’s second tier.
Marcucci declined to provide a copy of NASCAR’s written approval and NASCAR officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Video and photos of Brown’s Chevrolet Camaro last week showed the red-white-and-blue paint scheme that includes “LGBcoin.io,” the official name of the cryptocurrency , across the rear quarter-panel.
LGB stands for “Let’s Go Brandon,” an anti-Biden saying that originated when a reporter misinterpreted a chant they thought was supporting Brown after he won his first career Xfinity race in October at Talladega Superspeedway.
“NASCAR did not speak with Brandonbilt Motorsports prior to making their decision to rescind the approval and multiple attempts to set up a conversation to address this matter went unacknowledged,’’ Marcucci said in a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports.
“The bottom line is that Brandonbilt Motorsports followed the standard process for sponsor and paint scheme approval and received approval from a NASCAR official empowered to make those decisions, and who makes those decisions on a regular basis. This official then confirmed and reiterated that we had received approval in a phone conversation after the announcement was made.
“We are disappointed that NASCAR leadership has chosen to rescind approval of this sponsorship and feel they should have the confidence to own their decision to backtrack and not gaslight a team or a driver. ‘’
James Koutoulas, a leading holder of LGBcoin, said NASCAR initially approved the sponsorship deal contingent on the use of the LGB acronym, rather than spelling out “Let’s Go Brandon,’’ for the paint scheme on Brown’s car.
On his Twitter account, Koutoulas provided what he said was evidence that NASCAR initially approved the sponsorship deal.
A screenshot of what appears to be an email sent from Dale Howell of NASCAR Racing Operations to Mac MacLeod, Director of Marketing & Business Development for Brandonbilt Motorsports, reads in part: “The sponsors are approved however clean up the markings around the number especially the white stars touching the white number.”