Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam lose their NASCAR spirits, race out of their deals

NASCAR may have a blue-collar image, but it's an expensive sport. Not only is there the cost of the racing cars, but there's the payroll needed for the experienced staff required to maintain them. With all the overhead, sponsorship doesn't come cheap. Yet attendance and TV ratings are down, making it tough for NASCAR to prove its value.

Two whiskey brands, Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam, announced this week that they're discontinuing their NASCAR sponsorships. Jack Daniel's, owned by Brown Forman (BF.B), cited a "re-evaluation" prompted by the recession, while Jim Beam, owend by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands (FO), made its decision after an "extensive review" of its marketing strategy.