|Series sponsor||Winston |
|Most recent champion||Jimmie Johnson|
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is NASCAR's top racing series. In the past, it was known as the Strictly Stock Series, the Grand National Series, the Winston Cup Series, the Nextel Cup Series and the Sprint Cup Series.
From 1950 through 1970, the top tier NASCAR series was called the Grand National, not to be confused with the later Busch Grand National Series (now simply the Xfinity Series), the second tier division of NASCAR.
From 1971 through 2003, NASCAR's premier series was called the Winston Cup Series. It was sponsored by Winston Cigarettes as an advertising mechanism to bring attention to its Winston brand of cigarettes. In its later years, RJR's sponsorship became more controversial in the wake of US legislation that sharply restricted avenues for tobacco advertising.
In 2003, RJR dropped its sponsorship of the top series, and NASCAR obtained a sponsorship from NEXTEL, a telecommunications company. The change of sponsorship, essentially caused the Winston Cup to become obsolete and merely a part of NASCAR history. Starting in 2004, the premier series was known as the NEXTEL Cup Series.
The merger between Sprint and NEXTEL resulted in the series being renamed Sprint Cup Series in 2008. In early 2015 it was announced Sprint would stop sponsoring the series after 2016.
Monster Energy CupEdit
As Sprint's sponsorship came to an end after 2016, the series became known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2017.
|Strictly Stock Series||1949|
|Grand National Series||1950-1970|
|Winston Cup Series||1971-2003|
|Nextel Cup Series||2004-2007|
|Sprint Cup Series||2008-2016|
|Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series||2017-present|
Chase for the ChampionshipEdit
Short track racing, the grassroots of NASCAR, began experimenting with ideas to help the entry-level racer. In 2001, the United Speed Alliance Racing organisation, sanctioning body of the Hooters ProCup, a late-model series, devised a five-race playoff system where the top teams in their Hooters ProCup North and Hooters ProCup South divisions would participate in a five-race playoff, the Four Champions, named for the four Hooters Racing staff members (including 1992 NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki) and pilot killed in an April 1, 1993 plane crash in Blountville, Tennessee. The system organised the teams with starting points based on the team's performance in their division (division champions earn a bonus), and the teams would participate in a five-race playoff. The five races, added to the team's seeding points, would determine the winner. The 2001 version was four races, as one was cancelled because of the September 11th terrorist attacks; however, NASCAR watched as the ProCup's Four Champions became a success and drivers from the series began looking at NASCAR rides.
When Nextel took over NASCAR's premier sponsorship for the 2004 season, they looked to USAR and the Hooters ProCup for two major changes in scoring. First, five additional points were added for a race win. Second, a new formula for declaring a series champion based on the ProCup system was devised. A cut was made after 26 teams, with the high ten drivers and teams plus ties, and anyone within 400 points of the leader placed in the Chase for the Championship (or simply "The Chase"). The Chase participants have their points increased to a level mathematically unattainable by anyone outside this field (roughly 1800 points ahead of the first driver outside of the Chase), which usually is 5,050 points for the leader, with other positions dropping by five points per position, with a limit of 5,000 points after ties and the 400 point cut. Race layouts remain the same and points are scored the same way in the final 10 races. Whoever leads in points after the 36th race is declared the Sprint Cup champion. A special award is also given to the highest finishing non-Chase driver to encourage continued competition among all drivers -- which usually includes the final position on the stage for the awards banquet.
This playoff system was implemented primarily to make the points race more competitive late in the season, and indirectly, to increase television ratings during the NFL season, which starts around the same time as the Chase begins. Furthermore, the Chase also forces teams to perform at their best during all three stages of the season -- the first half of the regular season, the second half of the regular season, and the Chase.
Previously, the Cup champion may have been decided before the last race (or even several races before the end of the season) because it was mathematically impossible for any other driver to gain enough points to overtake the leader.
From the beginning of championship series until 1967 championship points were based on prize money purses. Races with lesser purses paid fewer points than races with bigger purses.
First NASCAR point system used for championship from 1949 till 1951 awarded points on basis 10 points for the 1st place, 9 pts for 2nd, 8 pts for 3rd and so on, multiplied by 0.05*race purse (Race worth $4000 paid 200 points to the winner, 180 for 2nd place...). No info about how many points were given to drivers finishing below 10th place.
From 1952 till 1967 NASCAR point system was based on linear scale for first 25 positions: 25-24-23-... Coefficients changed, but were always depending on prize money. From 25th place down there were awarded the same number of points.
In 1968 NASCAR started to award points depending on race distance, not prize money. Point system was 50-49-48-... multiplied by 1 for events to 249 miles, 2 for events 250-399 miles and 3 for events 400 miles and more. System stopped from 50th place. This system was in use until the end of 1971 season.
In 1972, together with shortening the schedule, point system was also modified. Basic points of 100-98-96-... were awarded for each race. Additionally, lap points were awarded for the number of laps completed. Tracks under 1 mile, 0.25 points a lap; 1-mile tracks, 0.50; 1.3-mile track (Darlington), 0.70; 1.5-mile tracks, 0.75; 2-mile tracks (Michigan), 1.00; tracks 2.5 miles and over, 1.25. This system was also used in 1973.
In 1974 points system was simple: Total money winnings from all track purses (qualifying and contingency awards did not count), in dollars, multiplied by the number of races started, and the resulting figure divided by 1,000 determined the number of points earned. By the end of the season Richard Petty had such a big lead in points, that he increased it even by finishing 30th while his main rival Cale Yarborough made a top-5 (Remember - the money was multiplied by the number of races started. Even if Cale made more money in one particular race, when the total money was multiplied by e. g. 27, the difference between the two leaders could also increase in comparison with situation after race 26).
Current NASCAR's points system was developed in 1975 following years of trouble in trying to develop a points system -- from 1949 until 1971, six different systems were used, and in 1972, NASCAR used a different system each year for the next three years.
That type of inconsistency, which included a system which rewarded most mileage for the entire season, and then another year where mileage and finishing positions were counted, favored larger circuits, and some fans complained about a champion who only won one race. That resulted in a 1974 ill-fated attempt at basing the points system on money and starts. Even though one driver won consecutive races, his opponent who had won the big money races had scored more points.
Bob Latford, a former public relations official at Lowe's Motor Speedway, devised NASCAR's most popular points system, which was adopted in 1975, which NASCAR used two different versions for their series from 1982 until 1998. In the system, the winner received 175 points, second 170 points, and other positions exactly the same as the current points system.
Until 1998, the Busch Series points system offered 180 points for the winner, but no bonuses for leading laps. The same was true for the Craftsman Truck Series until the end of that season, when NASCAR decided to standardise the points system for their series.
One complaint about the points system was how a driver could finish second and receive an equal number of points as a race winner, which was possible if the driver who led the most laps finished second. NASCAR fixed the problem in 2004 by adding five points to the winner.
Monster Energy Cup Driver's ChampionshipEdit
After the 26th race with ten races to go, the Driver's Championship points are changed in accordance with the "Chase for the Cup", with the leader in championship points having their total altered to 5050 points, second place altered to 5045, and so on for all eligible drivers.
One important note is that the points system does not change after the 26th race. (during the "Chase for the Cup") While the only drivers eligible for the championship are those in the chase, all points are awarded in the same manner. Another important note is that only the Sprint Cup standings points are altered, not for any other series in NASCAR -- Nationwide, Craftsman Truck, or the regional series -- AutoZone Elite Division series (four, Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, Midwest), Grand National Division series (two, North and West), or Whelen Modified Tours (two, North and South).
Monster Energy Cup tracksEdit
Most championships wonEdit
- 7 - Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnson
- 4 - Jeff Gordon
- 3 - Lee Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Tony Stewart
- 2 - Herb Thomas, Tim Flock, Buck Baker, Ned Jarrett, Joe Weatherly, Terry Labonte
- 1 - Red Byron, Bill Rexford, Rex White, Bobby Isaac, Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup triviaEdit
- The youngest Winston Cup Champion was Jeff Gordon in 1995, the oldest was Richard Petty in 1979.
- Benny Parsons, Bill Rexford, and Matt Kenseth are the only series champions to have one single series victory and still win the title.
- Alan Kulwicki was the last single car owner to win the Series title.
- The Sprint Cup trophy is gold with two gold-plated checkered flags in flight, it is heavily guarded by the U.S. Army until the final race and in 2005 was delivered by United Parcel Service to Homestead, Fla. (Both organizations sponsor Sprint Cup teams.) The trophy takes approximately a whole year or two to make.
- Atlanta Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, New Hampshire International Speedway (in 2001, because a race was postponed till the day after Thanksgiving following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks) and the now defunct Ontario Motor Speedway are the only tracks that have hosted the season finale.
- The Sprint Cup Awards Banquet is held in Las Vegas at the Wynn.
- Tony Stewart and Cale Yarborough are the only drivers to finish last in the Daytona 500 and still win the Sprint Cup series title.
- Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, and Bill Rexford and Herb Thomas are the only teammates to win Sprint Cup Series titles.
- The Labonte and Busch brothers are the only 2 set of brothers to win the series championship. During the series finale at the 1996 NAPA 500 in Atlanta, Bobby Labonte won the race, whilst his brother won the title. At the 2015 finale, Kyle Busch won both the race and the championship while his brother, Kurt Busch, finished 8th.
- Richard Petty is the single-season winning-est driver with an unprecedented 27 wins in 1967; additionally, this season he was also the first to break the $100,000 barrier in earnings.