After a year of negotiations, NASCAR has finally found a new sponsor for the Sprint Cup series. Sprint announced in December 2014 it would not return after the 2016 season. It took nearly two years for NASCAR to complete a deal and find a new replacement.
Monster Energy was named the new sponsor for NASCAR’s premier series. It becomes only the third title sponsor in the Cup series, (RJ Reynolds/Winston and Sprint/Nextel) preceded Monster Energy. The length and terms were not disclosed, but it has been rumored the term “cup series” would be replaced by the term “premier series.”
“Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series.”
Monster Energy will also hold race sponsorship to the NASCAR all-star race and become “the official energy drink” of NASCAR. It will also continue to sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ford of Kurt Busch.
That’s right, I mentioned earlier that Stewart-Haas Racing was switching to Ford in 2017. Under the agreement, energy drink sponsors already involved in NASCAR may remain in place. Potential sponsors from the energy drink category will not be eligible for future sponsorship if not already involved in the sport. When Sprint became the sponsor for the Cup Series, any competitors had to go, which is the reason Verizon left the Cup Series.
XFINITY will remain in place for NASCAR’ second tier and Camping World Truck will still be the sponsor for NASCAR’s trucks. For old-school fans, this will be a hard adjustment. I just got over the Sprint change, as I quite often refer to the Cup series as Winston Cup, and I still think of the XFINITY series as the Busch series.
A number of NASCAR fans have asked me how long 41-year-old Jimmy Johnson will continue to race. I don’t really know but he would definitely want to get an eighth championship and stand alone in that category.
Crew chief Chad Knaus has been with Johnson for all of his seven championships, and would love to win a eighth, and put him in a tie with Dale Inman, who holds the record for crew chief championships.
“I mentioned it to him that we need to go get eight for him,” Johnson said. “He’s honestly been such a huge part of my success and deserves the title of greatest ever. So one way to really nip that is to go and put him up there with the same stats as Dale.”