Welcome to FTW Explains, a guide to catching up on stuff going on in the world. While the NASCAR world was focused on the Southern 500 this weekend, news broke that rookie driver Daniel Suárez lost his Subway sponsorship. Here’s a breakdown of what happened and why.

What’s the history of Subway’s sponsorship with Suárez?

Subway was a longtime sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards. But when he unexpectedly stepped away from racing, Suárez — the 2016 XFINITY Series champion — was tapped to replace him on the team in the No. 19 Toyota, and Subway embraced the new driver. The sandwich company agreed to sponsor the Cup Series rookie for four races this season.

Why did Subway terminate the sponsorship?

Back in July when NASCAR was at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Overton’s 301, Suárez participated in a pre-race segment on NBC where he was handing out Dunkin’ Donuts to racing fans. It seems innocuous, but Subway — apparently disturbed by him interacting with what it deemed a competitor — didn’t think so.

Suárez during qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

In a statement to ESPN’s Bob Pockrass on Saturday, Subway said:

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, Subway had to terminate its sponsorship of Daniel Suarez.”

JGR then confirmed with Pockrass on Sunday that Subway’s reaction was because of the Dunkin’ Donuts pre-race segment.

How did the team react?

Subway pulling its sponsorship stunned the NASCAR world, as well as both Suárez and JGR. With talks of continuing the sponsorship into next season, team owner Joe Gibbs told Motorsport.com that the move caught the team “completely by surprise.”

Suárez — who needs a race win to secure his spot in the 16-driver playoffs — didn’t have much time this weekend to process the decision ahead of the Southern 500, the second-to-last race in the regular season. Following the termination announcement, Suárez was seen on the track at Darlington Raceway wearing a patch on his fire suit where Subway’s name usually is.

Via JeffGluck.com:

“That’s part of racing,” he said. “Sponsorship comes and sponsorship leaves. There’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t really know the reasons, so there’s not a lot I can add to it.”

Getty Images

What does this mean going forward?

In the immediate future, Suárez is focused on the final race of the regular season, the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on Saturday. Based on points, he’s currently four places behind the cutoff for the playoffs, so he has one more chance to win to lock himself into the playoffs.

Looking farther ahead, Subway’s final race in the sponsorship was set for the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 15. The team now needs a sponsor to fill that spot, which theoretically shouldn’t be too hard but it’s a last-minute challenge.

What do others in the NASCAR world think?

While Subway serves breakfast and is arguably a competitor of Dunkin’ Donuts, most people seem to agree that this reaction to a pre-race segment engaging with fans is a little excessive.

And as Yahoo Sports‘ Nick Bromberg pointed out:

It’s hard not to wonder if Subway was not thrilled with the loss of Edwards as its NASCAR pitchman. If the company was happy with the way things were going, why would it be so petty to use something like this to break a contract?

Whatever the reason was for Subway reacting so harshly to Suárez’s TV segment, he’s now in the market for another major sponsor.