Primary sponsors on the NASCAR circuit get a lot TV time and exposure, but there are a ton of contingency stickers that aren’t obvious except upon closeup inspection. Ever wonder about what those are all about, or the benefits of those relatively small logos?
These logos, usually placed around the front wheel well — both in front of the fender, and behind it are called contingency decals are a long-time tradition in NASCAR and span everywhere from the Sprint Cup Series down to the K&N and ARCA series race cars. Some of the decals are requirements of the series the car is running in, while others give the driver and the teams the ability to win money by hitting milestones in a given race — the race within a race.
Some of the race milestones that pay out prize money include qualifying on the pole, leading the most laps in the race, leading at the race’s halfway mark and even for the team with the most efficient pit crew.
The pole qualifying is the most widely known and televised — sponsored by Coors Light. Drivers who have qualified on the pole end up with the Coors behind their front fender.
In the modern era, a lot of the season long contingencies/prizes get televised and announced at the post-season driver’s banquet in Las Vegas.
But it hasn’t always been about prize money. In the early days, car parts manufacturers/dealers traded auto parts for a small decal. Ironically, in the current era of big bucks and even bigger sponsors, those contingency awards have more of a chance of being featured and noticed both on TV and in person due to high definition TVs, camera phones and social media.
So while the Nationwides, Lowe’s and M&Ms get the most notice (and pay the uber bucks), next time you’re watching a race, take a look at the similarities and differences of each car’s contingency decals to see some of the others supporting the sport we all love and love to watch.