News & Media

Q-and-A with Daymond John of 'Shark Tank'

April 09, 2013, Holly Cain,

Founder of FUBU discusses NASCAR, his ABC colleagues

Daymond John, founder of FUBU clothing line and star of the popular ABC show “Shark Tank” gave the starting command for the Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway in March. John’s Shark Branding management company is working with Nationwide rookie Alex Bowman. He sat down with to answer a few questions before the race.
Have you followed NASCAR?
This is my first race I’m physically at, but I’ve followed as a kid even. Growing up in New York I had the Matchbox cars.

Did you practice the starting command?
I practiced it a 100 times last night. Not really. But my voice is not always deep enough and I want to make sure I don’t sound like Chris Tucker, (in high pitch) “Gentlemen, start your engines.’’ (Laughs) So I had to practice some.
How did you meet Alex Bowman?
We me through mutual friends and I just started watching him, and became fascinated. I’ve worked with many, many celebrities in the past from the Kardashians to Lennox Lewis to Pitbull that have become very big and he (Bowman) has what it takes that I’ve seen in every single one of those people.

"People don’t understand how difficult it is to be a driver and they don’t know any better until you go into their living rooms in another way..."

-- Daymond John

You’re a marketing genius, how would you win over more NASCAR fans with all the entertainment options out there?
It’s challenging because there are so many options. But I think first of all, the easiest thing to sell is the truth and this is a huge sport -- fan-friendly, it’s brand-friendly, everything is there. As you move NASCAR into more popular culture with social media and shows that depict it properly that’s what we’ll see. People don’t understand how difficult it is to be a driver and they don’t know any better until you go into their living rooms in another way they don’t expect you to. It’s kind of like Shark Tank. You’d think people don’t want to see some old business guys negotiating but now kids want to be a Shark as much as they want to be Lebron James because it came into someone’s living room another way.
Any possibility FUBU comes as a sponsor to NASCAR?
We license FUBU overseas, but we will have some of my other brands out there. I am going to my associates whom I’ve known the last 20 years and who didn’t understand the sport and I’m going to say, ‘This kid (Bowman) is it.’ I’ve been here and invested my time and energy. I’m going to bring some attention here that traditionally might not have come here.
If the cast of Shark Tank were to suit up and climb behind the wheels of race cars, who wins?
In order from worst to first would probably be Barbara (Corcoran). She’s a little dizzy so she would probably wreck the car immediately. Lori (Greiner) would be too busy arguing with her pit crew. Kevin O’Leary, unless he had a dollar in front of the car for him to chase, he wouldn’t be driving it. (Mark) Cuban’s too big to fit in a car. So it would be against Robert (Herjavec) and I, and because Robert already races in the Ferrari Series, I’d have to say he’d win because he has the cool hair and already looks like a race car driver.



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