What’s the beef? McDonald’s, Wendy’s spat over Daytona 500

Bubba Wallace's crew changes tires and adds fuel as he comes in for a pit stop during the first of two qualifying auto races for the NASCAR Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/David Graham)
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AP Sports Writer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — What’s the beef? Turns out fast-food burger wars were on the menu in the run-up to the Daytona 500 over, of all things, the paint schemes for cars sponsored by McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

McDonald’s stamped its ubiquitous golden arches logo on the hood of 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace’s No. 23 Toyota. Wendy’s countered with a picture of a, well, super-sized beefy cheeseburger with the slogan “The Beef” emblazoned on Noah Gragson’s No. 42 Chevrolet.

Wendy’s CMO Carl Loredo trashed McDonald’s logo selection as if it was a paper bag full of day-old fries.

“We’re proud of Noah Gragson’s No. 42 ‘ The BEEF’ car, and fans have been praising the paint scheme on social all week long,” he told Sports Business Journal. “We can’t say the same goes for our McBland competitors. At Wendy’s, we don’t cut corners.”

McDonald’s wasn’t McLovin’ it.

The salty retort caught the attention of 23XI President Steve Lauletta, who flame broiled his competitor on Twitter.

“Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder so appreciate your thoughts @carlloredo,” Lauletta wrote. “I can tell you our focus @23XIRacing is on results so pretty happy with our 11th place qualifying result last night…you?”

Gragson was 28th in the Daytona 500 time trials.

Wallace and McDonalds got the edge in the Daytona 500 lineup and will start 15th on Sunday over Gragson and Wendy’s at 22nd for NASCAR’s season-opener.

23XI is co-owned by Michael Jordan, of course, a longtime McDonald’s pitchman. Wallace weighed in with a GIF of a bemused Gary Payton.

Perhaps the big chill between the companies will continue into Sunday at the Daytona 500. How about a McFlurry or a Frosty for the winner to go with that trophy?