NASCAR Cup Series

The NASCAR Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). The series began in 1949 as the Strictly Stock Division, and from 1950 to 1970 it was known as the Grand National Division. In 1971, when the series began leasing its naming rights to the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, it was referred to as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1971–2003). A similar deal was made with Nextel in 2003, and it became the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (2004–2007).[1] Sprint acquired Nextel in 2005, and in 2008 the series was renamed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (2008–2016). In December 2016, it was announced that Monster Energy would become the new title sponsor, and the series was renamed the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (2017–2019). In 2019, NASCAR rejected Monster's offer to extend the current naming rights deal beyond the end of the season. NASCAR subsequently announced its move to a new tiered sponsorship model beginning with the 2020 season similar to other US based professional sports leagues, where it was simply known as the NASCAR Cup Series, with the sponsors of the series being called Premier Partners. The four Premier Partners are Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, GEICO, and Xfinity.[2]

NASCAR Cup Series
CategoryStock cars
CountryUnited States
Inaugural season1949
ManufacturersChevrolet · Ford · Toyota
Engine suppliersChevrolet · Ford · Toyota
Tire suppliersGoodyear
Drivers' championKyle Larson
Teams' championHendrick Motorsports
Official websiteNASCAR Cup Series
Current season

The championship is determined by a points system, with points being awarded according to finish placement and number of laps led. The season is divided into two segments. After the first 26 races, 16 drivers, selected primarily on the basis of wins during the first 26 races, are seeded based on their total number of wins. They compete in the last ten races, where the difference in points is greatly minimized. This is called the NASCAR playoffs.[3]

The series holds strong roots in the Southeastern United States, with about half of the races in the 36-race season being held in that region. As of 2020 the schedule includes tracks from around the United States. Regular season races were previously held in Canada, and exhibition races were held in Japan and Australia. The Daytona 500, the most prestigious race, had a television audience of about 9.17 million U.S. viewers in 2019.[4]

Cup Series cars are unique in automobile racing. The engines are powerful enough to reach speeds of over 200 mph (320 km/h), but their weight coupled with a relatively simple aerodynamic package (based on the body styles of cars currently available for retail sale in the United States) make for poor handling. The bodies and chassis of the cars are strictly regulated to ensure parity, and electronics are traditionally spartan in nature.


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