Over the past decade, I’ve been converted to a die-hard NASCAR fan, starting out only watching the top level of the sport — what will be known for a little over the next year as the Sprint Cup Series.
Slowly, I’ve come to be a regular watcher and follower of what’s currently called the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck series. I’ve even watched and attended K&N events. Sponsorship is a huge part of the sport, and three national series wouldn’t exist between those sponsors plastered all over the cars (and trucks), the tracks that host NASCAR events and the large investment the title sponsors put into the NASCAR motorsports series. But why when a new title sponsor enters does the NASCAR history book get rewritten?
Jeff Gordon, in his final year of racing is referred to as a four-time Sprint Cup champion, winning the title in 1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001. But he doesn’t have a single Sprint Cup in fact. He’s a Nextel Cup and Winston Cup winner. Do NASCAR participants, broadcasters and others involved in the Series just refer to the current title sponsor when referring to the series as all as a form of shorthand? Do they do it to respect the current sponsor? If it’s the latter, they’re doing a disrespect to those who have helped form and build the sport to where it is today.
It happened just this season. Nationwide moved from the secondary series title sponsor to a car sponsor on Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s No. 88. Xfinity took over the series and gets all the credit past and present in the series and it’s about to happen again in a little over the year when Sprint ducks out of the top series at the end of the 2016 Cup series where a yet-to-be named sponsor will take over series sponsorship.
Title sponsors such as Winston, Nextel, Busch and Nationwide all deserve their place in history. Visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, plaques exist on the top floor honoring each driver who’s won championships. Here, the plaques delineate title sponsors. It really should be done throughout the sport by participants and broadcasters alike. In a sport where sponsorship is key to the sport operating, let’s recognize the history of the sport and the sponsors who got us there.
If there’s anyone out there with insight into why the current sponsor gets all the credit for the series past and present, I’d love to know. Please comment below. Agree or disagree with my take? Please comment below as well. We love the feedback and interaction with other race fans.