No changes will be made to the risqué outfits worn by Monster Energy models at NASCAR races this year despite some criticism voiced on social media by fans after Sunday's Clash at Daytona.
Mitch Covington, Monster's vice president of sports marketing, told ESPN on Wednesday that the outfits are a fabric of what the company does at events it sponsors on site. Monster is in its first year of a deal that will pay NASCAR approximately $20 million a year for title sponsorship of its top circuit.
"Monster has always been about racing and girls, and that won't change," Covington said. "When we first started in NASCAR with Robby Gordon in 2009, our models today were conservatively dressed compared to what they had on back then."
The difference, of course, is prominence. Monster models in tank tops will be front and center, replacing Sprint models who wore firesuits in Victory Lane after a race.
But Covington says he has had no discussion with NASCAR officials about changing the outfits and doesn't expect to. NASCAR models have worn even less material in the past, he says.
"Look at the old races when the girls wore bathing suits," Covington said.
Covington would not say how many models the energy drink brand would have at each race, but said there will be more than the four that showed up last week as compared to the Daytona 500 this week. Covington said the brand contracts as many as 100 women at any given time to represent the Monster Energy logos.
Monster's deal is its biggest in sports in terms of prominence since it sponsored American Pharoah before the horse won the Belmont Stakes in 2015 to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. Monster also signed a bag deal with Tiger Woods this year.
Monster Energy is a $3 billion brand in the U.S. alone, selling more energy drinks than any other brand except Red Bull.