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The NASCAR Cup Series is the top racing series of the
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock car racing. The privately owned company was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1948, and his ...

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 Naming rights are a financial transaction and form of advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a ...
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 Nextel Communications, Inc. was an American wireless service operator that merged with and continues to exist as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint Corporation Sprint Corporation was an American telecommunications Telecommunication is ...
in 2003, and it became the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (2004–2007). 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 Monster Energy is an energy drink An energy drink is a type of drink containing stimulant Stimulants (also often referred to as psychostimulants or colloquially as uppers) is an overarching term that covers many drug File:Aspirine macro ...
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 Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (US ...
,
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated Carbonation is the chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical A chemical sub ...

Coca-Cola
,
GEICO The Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO ) is a private American auto insurance company with headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland Chevy Chase is the name of both a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally ...

GEICO
, and
Xfinity Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, doing business as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or alias () is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for ...
. 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 The NASCAR playoffs is a championship Playoffs, playoff system used in NASCAR's three national series. The system was founded as 'The Chase for the Championship' on January 21, 2004, and was used exclusively in the NASCAR Cup Series from 2004 to ...
. The series holds strong roots in the
Southeastern United States The southeastern United States, also referred to as the American Southeast or simply the Southeast, is broadly the eastern portion of the southern United States The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the Ame ...
, with about half of the races in the 36-race season being held in that region. the schedule includes tracks from around the United States. Regular season races were previously held in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, and exhibition races were held in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
. The
Daytona 500 The Daytona 500 is a NASCAR Cup Series The NASCAR Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing s ...
, the most prestigious race, had a television audience of about 9.17 million U.S. viewers in 2019. Cup Series cars are unique in automobile racing. The engines are powerful enough to reach speeds of over , 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.


History


Strictly Stock and Grand National

In 1949,
NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing found m ...

NASCAR
introduced the Strictly Stock division, after sanctioning Modified and Roadster division races in 1948. Eight races were run on seven dirt ovals and on the
Daytona Beach Daytona Beach or simply Daytona is a city in Volusia County, Florida, Volusia County, Florida, United States. It lies approximately northeast of Orlando, Florida, Orlando, southeast of Jacksonville, Florida, Jacksonville, and northwest of Mi ...
beach/street course."Strictly Stock Standings and Statistics for 1949" page of Racing-Reference websit

, retrieved May 9, 2007.
The first 1949 NASCAR Strictly Stock Series inaugural race, NASCAR "Strictly Stock" race was held at
Charlotte Speedway Charlotte Speedway was the site of NASCAR's first Strictly Stock Series (now NASCAR Cup Series) race on June 19, 1949. The Daytona Beach Road Course held the first race sanctioned by NASCAR in 1948. The track was a few miles west of the NASCAR H ...
on June 19, 1949.
Jim Roper Christian David "Jim" Roper (August 13, 1916 – June 23, 2000) was a NASCAR driver. He lived in Halstead, Kansas, Halstead, Kansas. He is most known as the winner of the 1949 NASCAR Strictly Stock Series inaugural race, first NASCAR Strictly ...
was declared the winner of that race after
Glenn Dunaway Henry Glenn Dunaway (July 6, 1914 – March 8, 1964) was an American auto racer noted for initially winning, and then being disqualified from, what is today recognized as NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto ...
was disqualified for having altered the rear springs on his car; the first series champion was
Red Byron Robert Nold "Red" Byron (March 12, 1915 – November 11, 1960) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United St ...
. The division was renamed "Grand National" for the 1950 season, reflecting NASCAR's intent to make the sport more professional and prestigious. It retained this name until 1971. The 1949 Strictly Stock season is regarded in NASCAR's record books as the first season of GN/Cup history.
Martinsville Speedway Martinsville Speedway is an International Speedway Corporation International Speedway Corporation (ISC) was a corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a sin ...
is the only track on the 1949 schedule that remains on the current schedule. Rather than having a fixed schedule of one race per weekend with most entrants appearing at every event, the Grand National schedule has included over sixty events in some years. Often there are two or three races on the same weekend and occasionally two races on the same day in different states. In the early years, most Grand National races were held on dirt-surfaced short oval tracks that ranged in lap length from under a quarter-mile to over a half-mile, or on dirt fairgrounds ovals usually ranging from a half-mile to a mile in lap length. Of the first 221 Grand National races, 198 were run on dirt tracks.
Darlington Raceway Darlington Raceway is a race track built for NASCAR racing located in Darlington, South Carolina. It is nicknamed "The Lady in Black" and "The Track Too Tough to Tame" by many NASCAR fans and drivers and advertised as "A NASCAR Tradition." It is ...
, opened in 1950, was the first completely paved track on the circuit over long. In 1959, when
Daytona International Speedway Daytona International Speedway is a in , . Since opening in 1959, it has been the home of the , the most prestigious race in as well as its season opening event. In addition to NASCAR, the track also hosts races of , , , , and . The track feat ...

Daytona International Speedway
was opened, the schedule still had more races on dirt racetracks than on paved ones. In the 1960s as
superspeedway Oval track racing is a form of closed-circuit motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive Sports, sporting events which primarily involve the use of motor vehicles, motorise ...
s were built and old dirt tracks were paved, the number of races run on dirt tracks was reduced.Fielden, Greg, "NASCAR Cleans Up", ''Speedway Illustrated'', September 2004. The last NASCAR Grand National race on a dirt track (until
2021 2021 is scheduled to host most major events that were originally scheduled for 2020, including the 2020 CONCACAF Nations League Finals, Eurovision Song Contest 2021, Eurovision Song Contest, UEFA Euro 2020, 2020 Summer Olympics, 2021 Copa Améri ...
) was held on September 30, 1970, at the half-mile
State Fairgrounds Speedway''Other speedways at state fairgrounds can be found at State Fairgrounds Speedway (disambiguation) State Fairgrounds Speedway, located at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, North Carolina, was a half-mile oval dirt racetrack which was ...
in
Raleigh, North Carolina Raleigh (; ) is the capital city, capital of the state of North Carolina and the List of North Carolina county seats, seat of Wake County, North Carolina, Wake County in the United States. It is the List of municipalities in North Carolina, se ...
.
Richard Petty Richard Lee Petty (born July 2, 1937), nicknamed "The King," is an American former stock car racing driver who raced from 1958 to 1992 in the former NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup Series (now called the NASCAR Cup Series), most notably d ...
won that race in a
Plymouth Plymouth () is a port city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: ...
that had been sold by
Petty Enterprises Petty Enterprises (formerly Lee Petty Engineering) was a NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock car ...

Petty Enterprises
to Don Robertson and rented back by Petty Enterprises for the race.


Winston Cup

Between 1971 and 2003, NASCAR's premier series was sponsored by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company cigarette brand Winston, dubbing it the Winston Cup Series. The series was originally called the Winston Cup Grand National Series before "Grand National" was dropped in 1986. In 1971, the
Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act The Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act is a 1970 federal law Federal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a un ...
banned television advertising of cigarettes. As a result, tobacco companies began to sponsor sporting events as a way to spend their excess advertising dollars and to circumvent the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act's ban on television advertising. RJR's sponsorship became more controversial in the wake of the 1998 Tobacco Industry Settlement that sharply restricted avenues for tobacco advertising, including sports sponsorships. The changes that resulted from RJR's involvement in the series as well as from the reduction in schedule from 48 to 31 races per year established 1972 as the beginning of NASCAR's "modern era". The season was made shorter, and the points system was modified several times during the next four years. Races on dirt tracks and on oval tracks shorter than were removed from the schedule and transferred to the short-lived NASCAR Grand National East Series, and the remaining races had a minimum prize money of $30,000. NASCAR's founder,
Bill France Sr. William Henry Getty France (September 26, 1909 – June 7, 1992), also known as Bill France Sr. or Big Bill, was an American businessman and racing driver. He is best known for founding and managing NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Associ ...
, turned over control of NASCAR to his oldest son, Bill France Jr. In August 1974, France Jr. asked series publicist Bob Latford to design a points system with equal points being awarded for all races regardless of length or prize money.Mitchell, Jason, "How Do They Do That?: Winston Cup Point System", Stock Car Racing (ISSN 0734-7340), Volume 36, Number 10, October 2001. This system ensured that the top drivers would have to compete in all the races in order to become the series champion. This system remained unchanged from 1975 until the Chase for the Championship was instituted in 2004. Since 1982, the
Daytona 500 The Daytona 500 is a NASCAR Cup Series The NASCAR Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing s ...
has been the first non-exhibition race of the year.
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
Sports aired partial or full live telecasts of Grand National races from , North Wilkesboro, Darlington, Charlotte, and Nashville in 1970. Because these events were perceived as less exciting than many Grand National races, ABC abandoned its live coverage. Races were instead broadcast, delayed and edited, on the ABC sports variety show '' Wide World of Sports''. In 1979, the
Daytona 500 The Daytona 500 is a NASCAR Cup Series The NASCAR Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing s ...
became the first stock car race that was nationally televised live from flag to flag on
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
. The leaders going into the last lap,
Cale Yarborough William Caleb "Cale" Yarborough (born March 27, 1939) is an American former NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best ...
and
Donnie Allison Donnie Allison (born September 7, 1939) is an American former driver on the NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best ...
, wrecked on the backstretch while dicing for the lead, allowing
Richard Petty Richard Lee Petty (born July 2, 1937), nicknamed "The King," is an American former stock car racing driver who raced from 1958 to 1992 in the former NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup Series (now called the NASCAR Cup Series), most notably d ...
to pass them both for the win. Immediately, Yarborough, Allison, and Allison's brother Bobby were engaged in a fistfight on national television. This underlined the drama and emotion of the sport and increased its broadcast marketability. The race coincided with a major snowstorm along the United States' eastern seaboard, successfully introducing the sport to a captive audience. In 1981, an awards banquet began to be held in New York City on the first Friday evening in December. The first banquets were held in the
Waldorf-Astoria The Waldorf Astoria New York is a luxury hotel A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. Facilities provided inside a hotel room may range from a modest-quality mattress in a small room to large suit ...
's Starlight Room and in 1985 were moved to the much larger Grand Ballroom. But in 2001, the banquet portion was dropped in favor of a simpler awards ceremony. And in 2002, the awards ceremony was moved to the
Hammerstein Ballroom The Hammerstein Ballroom is a ballroom Image:Catherine Palace ballroom.jpg, An opulent ballroom at the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia A ballroom or ballhall is a large room (architecture), room inside a building, the primary pu ...

Hammerstein Ballroom
at the
Manhattan Center The Manhattan Center is a building in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Built in 1906 and located at 311 West 34th Street, it houses Manhattan Center Studios (home to two recording studios), its Grand Ballroom, and the Hammerstein Ballroom, one ...
. However, in 2003, the festivities returned to the Waldorf's Grand Ballroom, and the banquet format was reinstated. In 1985, Winston introduced a new awards program called the
Winston Million The Grand Slam in NASCAR is the achievement of winning all of the NASCAR Cup Series The NASCAR Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, ...
. From 1985 to 1997, any driver who won three of the four most prestigious races in the series was given one million dollars. The prize was only won twice;
Bill Elliott Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable promissory note A promissory note, sometimes referred to as a note payable ...

Bill Elliott
won in 1985,
Darrell Waltrip Darrell Lee Waltrip (born February 5, 1947) is an American motorsports Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive Sports, sporting events which primarily involve the use of motor vehic ...
nearly won in 1989,
Davey Allison David Carl Allison (February 25, 1961 – July 13, 1993) was an American NASCAR driver. He was best known for driving the No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Ford Motor Company, Ford for Robert Yates Racing in the Winston Cup Series (now the Monster En ...
nearly won in 1992,
Dale Jarrett Dale Arnold Jarrett (born November 26, 1956) is a former American race car Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to enc ...

Dale Jarrett
nearly won in 1996, and
Jeff Gordon Jeffery Michael Gordon (born August 4, 1971) is an American former professional stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a moto ...

Jeff Gordon
won in 1997. The Winston Million was replaced with a similar program, the Winston No Bull Five, in 1998. This program awarded one million dollars to any driver who won a prestigious race after finishing in the top five of the most previous prestigious race. The series underwent a large boom in popularity in the 1990s. In 1994, NASCAR held the first
Brickyard 400 The Brickyard 400 is an annual NASCAR Cup Series points race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The inaugural race was held in 1994 Brickyard 400, 1994, and the 400 was the first race other than the Indianapolis 500 to be he ...
at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an automobile racing circuit located in Speedway, Indiana Speedway is a town in Wayne Township, Marion County, Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States The United Sta ...

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
. Between 1997 and 1998, the winner's prize money for the Daytona 500 tripled. This coincided with a decline of popularity in
American Championship Car Racing American open-wheel car racing, also known as Indy car racing, is a category of professional automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or moto ...
. In 1999, NASCAR made a new agreement with
Fox Broadcasting The Fox Broadcasting Company (often shortened to Fox and stylized in all caps In typography, all caps (short for "all capitalization, capitals") refers to text or a typeface, font in which all letters are capital letters, for example: TEXT IN ...
,
Turner Broadcasting Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (abbreviated as Turner) is an American television and media conglomerate A media conglomerate, media group, or media institution is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, leg ...
, and
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
. The contract, signed for eight years for Fox and six years for NBC and Turner, was valued at $2.4 billion. In 2001,
Pixar Pixar Animation Studios (), commonly known as just Pixar, is an American computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform ge ...

Pixar
visited NASCAR tracks as research for the 2006
animated film Animation is a method in which figures Figure may refer to: General *A shape, drawing, depiction, or geometric configuration *Figure (wood), wood appearance *Figure (music), distinguished from musical motif *Noise figure, in telecommunication ...
''
Cars A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of ''cars'' say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels, and mainly transport people rather than goods. Cars came ...
'', which included the voices of NASCAR drivers
Richard Petty Richard Lee Petty (born July 2, 1937), nicknamed "The King," is an American former stock car racing driver who raced from 1958 to 1992 in the former NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup Series (now called the NASCAR Cup Series), most notably d ...
and
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. (born October 10, 1974) is an American semi-retired professional stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is ...
To avoid advertising tobacco in a Disney film, "Piston Cup" served as Pixar's allusion to the Winston Cup. Despite the fact that by 2006 the series was renamed to the Nextel Cup.


Nextel and Sprint

During the 2002 season, R.J. Reynolds notified NASCAR leadership that they would terminate their title sponsorship prematurely at the conclusion of the 2003 season. NASCAR negotiated a contract with
Nextel Nextel Communications, Inc. was an American wireless service operator that merged with and continues to exist as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint Corporation Sprint Corporation was an American telecommunications Telecommunication is ...
, a telecommunications company to replace Winston, and in 2004 the series became known as the Nextel Cup Series. The 2006 merger between Sprint and Nextel resulted in the Cup Series being renamed the Sprint Cup, beginning with the 2008 season. The Sprint Cup trophy was designed by and is silver, with a pair of checkered flags in flight.Racingone.com
"Nextel Cup Unveiled" Retrieved 8–4–08
By 2009, the popularity boom of the 1990s had ended, and television ratings over the previous ten years had become more or less stagnant. Some long-time fans have criticized the series for losing its traditional appeal because of abandoning venues in the
southeastern United States The southeastern United States, also referred to as the American Southeast or simply the Southeast, is broadly the eastern portion of the southern United States The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the Ame ...
in favor of newer markets. They have also voiced discontent over
Toyota is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign st ...

Toyota
's presence in the series. Japanese telecommunications corporation
SoftBank is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ...
acquired Sprint in July 2013. While NASCAR was suspicious of diversity promotion and aware of the negative implications of the
redneck ''Redneck'' is a derogatory term chiefly, but not exclusively, applied to white Americans perceived to be crass and unsophisticated, closely associated with rural In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is loca ...

redneck
image, it also recognized the opportunities to expand the sport. NASCAR's
CEO A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporate executives A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as c ...

CEO
Brian France Brian Zachary France (born August 2, 1962) is an American businessman and the former CEO A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporate executives A corporation ...
has become a prime target for criticism among fans during his tenure from 2003 to 2018. In 2016, NASCAR announced the creation of a
charter A charter is the grant of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social scie ...
system (in association with the
Race Team Alliance The Race Team Alliance (RTA) is a 501(c)(6) Delaware not-for-profit business organization that consists of 12 NASCAR Cup Series The NASCAR Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing The N ...
, formed in 2014), which would guarantee 36 teams' entry to all 36 races. Eligibility for a charter would depend on a team's attempts to qualify for every race within the previous three seasons. In conjunction with this rule, NASCAR also reduced the size of the Cup field to 40 cars.


Chase for the Cup

Along with the change in title sponsorship for the series, the 2004 season also introduced a new system for determining the series champion, influenced by the system used in the
USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series The CARS Solid Rock Carriers Tour (formerly known as the USARacing Pro Cup Series, USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, CARS Pro Cup Series, Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series, CARS X1-R Pro Cup Series) is a stock car racing, stock car auto racing series in the Unite ...
. Originally known as the ''Chase for the Nextel Cup'' (or simply ''"The Chase"'', and later changed to Sprint branding), the ten highest-scoring drivers and teams (plus ties) in the first 26 races of the season became eligible to win the championship by competing in a playoff held within the final ten races. This number was increased to 12 teams in 2007. The Chase participants had their points increased to a level mathematically unattainable by anyone outside this field (roughly 1,800 points ahead of the first driver outside the Chase). From the inaugural Chase in 2004 to the 2006 Chase, the drivers were seeded based on points position at the end of the regular season, with first place starting with 5,050 points and tenth place starting with 5,005. From 2007 to 2010, the points totals of each driver who made the Chase were reset to 5,000 points, plus ten additional points for each race victory during the first 26 races. Points would still be awarded as usual during the affected races. The driver leading in points after the 36th race would be declared the champion. As part of a major change in the points system that took effect in 2011, the qualifying criteria and the points reset were changed as well. From 2011 to 2013, the ten drivers with the most points automatically qualified for the Chase. They were joined by two "wild card" qualifiers, specifically, the two drivers with the most race wins who were ranked between 11th and 20th in drivers' points. Their base point totals were then reset to 2,000 points, a level more than 1,000 points higher than that of the first driver outside the Chase. (Under the new point system, a race winner can earn a maximum of 48 points, as opposed to 195 in the pre-2011 system.) The ten automatic qualifiers received a bonus of three points for each win during the regular season, while the two wild card qualifiers received no such bonus. As in the past, the race layouts for the remaining ten races were the same, with no changes to the scoring system. On November 20, 2011,
Tony Stewart Anthony Wayne Stewart (born May 20, 1971), nicknamed Smoke, is an American semi-retired professional stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of Auto racing, automobile racing run on oval track racing, oval tracks measuring approximate ...

Tony Stewart
and
Carl Edwards Carl Michael Edwards II (born August 15, 1979) is an American former professional stock car racing driver. He last competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. Prior to that, he drove the No. 99 ...

Carl Edwards
ended the season in a first-ever points tie. Stewart's five season wins (all in the Chase) over Edwards' one win (in the third race of the season) gave Stewart the tie-breaker. Hence he was named the winner of the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. For 2014, NASCAR announced wide-ranging changes to the Chase format: * The group of drivers in the Chase officially became the ''NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Grid''. * The number of drivers qualifying for the Chase Grid ranges from 12 to 16. * Fifteen of the 16 spots in the Chase Grid are reserved for the drivers with the most race wins over the first 26 races. The remaining spot is reserved for the points leader after 26 races, but only if that driver does not have a victory. If fewer than 16 drivers have wins in the first 26 races, the remaining Chase Grid spots are filled by winless drivers in order of points earned due that season. All drivers on the Chase Grid continue to have their driver points reset to 2,000 before the Chase, with a three-point bonus for each win in the first 26 races. * The Chase is now divided into four rounds. After each of the first three rounds, the four Chase Grid drivers with the fewest points for the season are eliminated from the Grid and from Championship contention. Any driver on the Grid who wins a race in the first three rounds automatically advances to the next round. All drivers eliminated from the Chase have their points readjusted back to the points they started with at the beginning of the Round of 16, (race 27) plus any points earned after, using the regular season points scheme only (no Round of 12, or Round of Eight reset points). In 2016, the Chase for the Championship, formerly known as the Challenger, Contender, and Eliminator round, were changed to a Round of 16, Round of 12, and Round of 8. ** Round of 16 (Races 27–29) *** Begins with 16 drivers, each with 2,000 points, plus a 3-point bonus for each win in the first 26 races ** Round of 12 (Races 30–32) *** Begins with 12 drivers, each with 3,000 points ** Round of Eight (Races 33–35) *** Begins with eight drivers, each with 4,000 points ** Championship Four (final race) *** The last four drivers in contention for the season title start the race with 5,000 points, with the highest finisher in the race winning the Cup Series title. No bonus points are awarded for laps led or most laps led for these four drivers. If one of the Championship Four drivers wins the race, the maximum points they can get is 40. To encourage continued competition among all drivers, a number of awards are given to drivers finishing outside the Chase. The highest finishing non-Chase driver (13th place at the end of the season from 2007 to 2013 and potentially anywhere from fifth to 17th place starting in 2014) is awarded a bonus of approximately one million dollars and was originally given a position on stage at the post-season awards banquet. The awards banquet now focuses solely on the Chase, with all of the series' sponsored and contingency awards moved to a luncheon at Cipriani the day before the 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 The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven play ...
season, which starts around the same time as the Chase begins. 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 champion could have been determined 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.


Monster Energy

The title sponsorship with Sprint ended after the 2016 season. On December 1, 2016, NASCAR announced it had reached an agreement with
Monster Energy Monster Energy is an energy drink An energy drink is a type of drink containing stimulant Stimulants (also often referred to as psychostimulants or colloquially as uppers) is an overarching term that covers many drug File:Aspirine macro ...
to become the new sponsor of NASCAR's premier series. On December 19, 2016, NASCAR announced the new name for the series, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as well as the new series logo and new NASCAR logo. On April 11, 2018, Monster Energy announced an extension of their sponsorship of the series through the end of the 2019 season. In 2017, stage racing was introduced. Races were broken up into three stages, four in the case of the NASCAR Cup Series' longest race, the Coca-Cola 600. A stage consists of normal green flag racing followed by a stoppage on a designated lap signified by the waving of a green and white checkered flag, then a yellow flag. The top-10 finishers in each of the first two stages are awarded bonus championship points, 10 points to the winner, 9 points for the 2nd place car, down to 1 point for the 10th place car. The points earned are added to a driver/owner's regular season points total, while the winner of the stage receives an additional point that is added to their point total, after the reset, if they get into the NASCAR playoffs. The stage lengths vary by track, but the first two stages usually combine to equal about half of the race. The final stage (which still pays out championship points to all drivers) usually equals the other half. Also, a regular season points championship is awarded to the driver who scored the most points in the first 26 races (regular season). This championship does not award any bonus points to the winning driver. Otherwise, the points system and playoff format remained the same. The MENCS trophy was in the form of a chalice that stood at three feet tall and weighed 68 lbs. Made of machined aluminum and taking over 300 hours of craftsmanship, the trophy's exterior was decorated with the outlines of all 23 NASCAR Cup Series tracks. The cup portion was said to hold approximately 600 ounces of liquids, or 37 cans of Monster Energy.


NASCAR Cup Series

Beginning with the 2020 season NASCAR's top level of competition became known as the NASCAR Cup Series. As part of a tiered sponsorship model,
Busch Beer Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (US ...
,
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated Carbonation is the chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical A chemical sub ...

Coca-Cola
,
GEICO The Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO ) is a private American auto insurance company with headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland Chevy Chase is the name of both a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally ...

GEICO
, and
Xfinity Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, doing business as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or alias () is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for ...
became the Premier Partners of the series, with Coca-Cola also assuming naming rights of the regular season trophy. The MENCS trophy design was retained under the new series name, though it was renamed the Bill France Cup.


Drivers' Championship

The NASCAR Cup Series Drivers' Championship is awarded by the Chairman of NASCAR to the most successful Cup Series driver over a season, as determined by a points system based on race results and victories. First awarded in
1949 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the . There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in s). This day is known as since the day marks the beginning of the year. __TOC__ ...
to
Red Byron Robert Nold "Red" Byron (March 12, 1915 – November 11, 1960) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United St ...
, 32 different drivers have won the Championship. The first driver to win multiple Championships was
Herb Thomas Herbert Watson Thomas (April 6, 1923 – August 9, 2000) was a stock car racing, stock car racer who was one of NASCAR's most successful drivers in the 1950s. Thomas was NASCAR's first multi-time Cup Champion. Background Born in the sm ...
in
1951 Events January * January 1 – Patti Page's hit song "Tennessee Waltz" enjoys its first week as the No. 1 single, on ''Billboard charts, Billboard'' and ''Cashbox (magazine), Cashbox'' Record chart, charts, in the United States. * January 4 ...
and
1953 Events January * January 1 – American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams Death of Hank Williams, dies in his car age 29 from alcohol abuse and drug problems, following an undiagnosed case of Spina bifida, spina bifida occu ...
, while the record for the most Championships, seven, is shared by
Richard Petty Richard Lee Petty (born July 2, 1937), nicknamed "The King," is an American former stock car racing driver who raced from 1958 to 1992 in the former NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup Series (now called the NASCAR Cup Series), most notably d ...
,
Dale Earnhardt Ralph Dale Earnhardt Sr. (; April 29, 1951 – February 18, 2001) was an American professional Stock car racing, stock car driver and team owner, who raced from 1975 to 2001 in the former NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now called the NASCAR Cup Se ...
and
Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Kenneth Johnson (born September 17, 1975) is an American professional auto racing driver who competes in the IndyCar Series, NTT IndyCar Series, driving the No. 48 Honda full-time for Chip Ganassi Racing and IMSA SportsCar Championship, I ...

Jimmie Johnson
. Johnson has the record for most consecutive Championships; he won five Championships from
2006 2006 was designated as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification and the International Asperger syndrome, Asperger's Year. Events January * January 1 – Russia cuts the shipment of natural gas to Ukraine over a Russia–U ...
to
2010 2010 was designated as: *International Year of Biodiversity The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) was a year-long celebration of biological diversity and its importance, taking place internationally in 2010. Coinciding with the dat ...
. So far every Champion has originated from the United States.


Owners' Championship

The Cup Series Owner's Championship operates in the same manner as the Driver's Championship, except that points are awarded to each individual car. If an owner enters more than one car, each car is viewed and scored as a separate entity. The points in the Owners Championship is identical to the Drivers' list, with one minor exception: Drivers who are not eligible to earn points toward the Drivers' title can still earn points toward the Owners' Championship. An example of this occurred in the first race under the current points system, the
2011 Daytona 500 The 2011 Daytona 500, the 53rd running of the event Event may refer to: Gatherings of people * Ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, ...
. Under another rule newly implemented for the 2011 season, drivers are only allowed to earn drivers' points in one of NASCAR's three national series.
Trevor Bayne Trevor M. Bayne (born February 19, 1991) is an American professional stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of Auto racing, automobile racing run on oval track racing, oval tracks measuring approximately . It originally used production-m ...
, who won the race, did not earn any drivers' points because he chose to run for the
Nationwide Series The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) is a stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sp ...
championship. However, he earned 47 owner's points for
Wood Brothers Racing Wood Brothers Racing is an American professional stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports ...

Wood Brothers Racing
(43 base points, three bonus points for the win, and one bonus point for leading a lap). Before a major change to the points system was implemented in 2011, there was a slightly different addition to the system of allocating owner's points. If more than 43 cars attempted to qualify for a race, owner's points were awarded to each car in the following manner: the fastest non-qualifier (in essence, 44th position) received 31 points, three points fewer than the car in the 43rd position. If more than one car did not qualify, owners' points continued to be assigned in the manner described, decreasing by three for each position. Under the post-2010 point system, only cars that actually start in a given race earn owner's points. There is a separate "Chase for the Championship" for the owners' points. A 2005 rule change in NASCAR's three national series, revoked from 2013 onward, affects how the owner's points are used. Through the 2012 season, the top 35 (NASCAR Cup Series) or top 30 (other series) full-time teams in owner points are awarded exemptions for the next race, guaranteeing them a position in that race. These points determine who is in and who is out of the next race and have become crucial since the exemption rule was changed to its current format. At the end of each season, the top 35 contenders in owner's points are also locked into the first five races of the next season. Beginning in 2013, the rules reverted to a system more similar to the pre-2005 rules. In the NASCAR Cup Series, the first 36 places in the field are determined strictly by qualifying speed. The next six places are awarded on owner points, with the final place reserved for a past Series Champion. If the final exemption is not used because all past Champions are already in the field, it will pass to another car based on the number of owner points. In some circumstances, a team's owners' points will differ from the corresponding driver's points. In 2005, after owner
Jack Roush Jack Roush (born Jackson Earnest Roush on April 19, 1942) is the founder, CEO, and co-owner of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, doing business as RFK Racing, is an American professional stock car racing, stock car o ...
fired
Kurt Busch Kurt Thomas Busch (born August 4, 1978) is an American professional auto racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used ...
during the next-to-last race weekend of the season, the No. 97 team finished in eighth place in owner's points, while Busch ended up tenth in driver's points. In 2002, when
Sterling Marlin Sterling Burton Marlin (born June 30, 1957) is an American semi-retired, professional stock car racing driver. He currently competes part-time Champion Racing Association, JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, driving the No. 114 for Sterling Marlin Racing. H ...
was injured, the No. 40 team finished eighth in owner's points, while Marlin was 18th in driver's points, because of substitute drivers
Jamie McMurray James Christopher McMurray (born June 3, 1976), nicknamed Jamie Mac, is an American former professional stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile ...
and
Mike Bliss Michael D. Bliss (born April 5, 1965) is an American professional stock car racing driver. A journeyman NASCAR competitor and the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, he has run in all three national series. Racing career Bliss began raci ...
, who continued to earn owner points for the No. 40. Another example was in the aforementioned 2011 Daytona 500.


Manufacturers' Championship

A Manufacturer's Championship is awarded each year, although the Driver's Championship is considered more prestigious. In the past, manufacturer's championships were prestigious because of the number of manufacturers involved, and the manufacturer's championship was a major marketing tool. In the
Xfinity Series The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) is a stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sp ...
, the championship is known as the Bill France Performance Cup. Up to the 2013 season, points were scored in a 1960–1990 Formula One system, with the winner's manufacturer scoring nine points, six for the next manufacturer, four for the manufacturer third among makes, three for the fourth, two for the fifth, and one point for the sixth positioned manufacturer. This meant that if Chevrolets placed first through tenth in a given race and a Ford was 11th and a Dodge 12th, Chevrolet earned 9 points, Ford 6 and Dodge 4. Starting in 2014, NASCAR changed the system to mimic the Owner's Championship. Under this system, each manufacturer's best finishing representative effectively earned them the same number of points as that team earned, including any bonus points from leading a lap or winning the event.


Representation

In NASCAR's earliest years, there was a diverse array of machinery, with little support from the car companies themselves, but by the mid 1960s, participation was exclusively American manufacturers with factory support. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors were the primary, if not only, competitors for much of NASCAR's history. Plymouth, while somewhat successful in the 1960s with the Hemi, never won a Manufacturers Championship until Ford pulled out of racing in the early 1970s. GM was still using four different brands in NASCAR in 1991, but within three years, Buick and Oldsmobile were gone. Pontiac survived until 2004, leaving only Chevrolet. 2007 saw the first new brand since 1971, when Japanese manufacturer Toyota joined. Chrysler's Dodge brand returned after a 15-year hiatus in 2001, but departed after 2012, leaving just Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. Chevrolet has been the most successful manufacturer as of August 2015, with 749 race wins and 38 manufacturers championships. Ford ranks second with 636 victories and 15 manufacturers championships. Dodge is third in wins with 217, Plymouth fourth with 190, and Pontiac fifth with 155. Toyota currently ranks 9th all time, with 74 victories.


Cup cars

Cup Series cars (often called "Cup cars") adhere to a
front engine In automotive design Automotive design is the process of developing the appearance, and to some extent the ergonomics, of motor vehicles, including automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, Coach (vehicle), coaches, and vans. The functional ...
rear-wheel-drive Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is a form of engine and transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the rear wheels only. Until the late 20th century, rear-wheel drive was the most common configuration for cars. Most rear-wheel dr ...
design. A
roll cage A roll cage is a specially engineered and constructed frame built in (or sometimes around, in which case it is known as an exo cage) the passenger compartment of a vehicle to protect its occupants from being injured or killed in an accident, part ...

roll cage
serves as a
space frame In architecture and structural engineering, a space frame or space structure (3D truss) is a rigid, lightweight, truss-like structure constructed from interlocking struts in a geometry, geometric pattern. Space frames can be used to span large ar ...

space frame
chassis A chassis (, ; plural ''chassis'' from French châssis ) is the load Load or LOAD may refer to: Aeronautics and transportation *Load factor (aeronautics), the ratio of the lift of an aircraft to its weight *Passenger load factor, the ratio o ...

chassis
and is covered by a 24-gauge
sheet metal Sheet metal is metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...
body. They have a closed cockpit, fenders, a rear spoiler, and an aerodynamic splitter. Fielding a car for one season usually costs $10–20 million. Each team may build its own cars and engines (per NASCAR's specifications) or purchase cars and engines from other teams. The cars are powered by EFI V8 engines since 2012 after 62 years using carburetion as engine fuel feed with compacted graphite iron blocks and pushrod
valvetrain A valvetrain or valve train is a mechanical system that controls the operation of the intake and exhaust valves in an internal combustion An internal combustion engine (ICE or IC engine) is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel ...
s actuating two-valves per cylinder, and are limited to 358 cubic inches' (about 5.8 liters)
displacement Displacement may refer to: Physical sciences Mathematics and Physics *Displacement (geometry) In geometry and mechanics, a displacement is a Euclidean vector, vector whose length is the shortest distance from the initial to the final position ...
. However, modern technology has allowed power outputs near or over in unrestricted form; while retaining the same basic engine design. In fact, before NASCAR instituted the gear rule, Cup engines were capable of operating more than 10,000 rpm. A NASCAR Cup Series engine with the maximum
bore Bore or Bores often refer to: *Boredom * Drill Relating to holes * Boring (manufacturing), a machining process that enlarges a hole ** Bore (engine), the diameter of a cylinder in a piston engine or a steam locomotive ** Bore (wind instruments), ...
of and
stroke A stroke is a medical condition A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Di ...
of at 9,000 rpm has a
mean piston speed The mean piston speed is the average speed In everyday use and in kinematics Kinematics is a subfield of physics, developed in classical mechanics, that describes the Motion (physics), motion of points, bodies (objects), and systems of ...

mean piston speed
of 80.44 fps (24.75 m/s). Contemporary Cup engines run 9,800 rpm, 87.59 fps (26.95 m/s), at the road course events, on
Pocono Raceway Pocono Raceway (formerly Pocono International Raceway), also known as ''The Tricky Triangle'', is a superspeedway located in the Pocono Mountains in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. It is the site of four NASCAR national series races and an ARCA Men ...

Pocono Raceway
's long front stretch, and at
Martinsville Speedway Martinsville Speedway is an International Speedway Corporation International Speedway Corporation (ISC) was a corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a sin ...
(a .526-mile short-track). At the backbone 1.5- to 2.0-mile tri-oval tracks of NASCAR, the engines produce well over 850 hp running 9,200-9,400 rpm for 500 miles, 600 mi for the Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte race. The current NASCAR Cup engines curb weight is roughly at . The front
suspension Suspension or suspended may refer to: Science and engineering * Suspension (topology), in mathematics * Suspension (dynamical systems), in mathematics * Suspension of a ring, in mathematics * Suspension (chemistry), small solid particles suspende ...
is a
double wishbone In automobiles, a double wishbone suspension is an independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvan ...
design, while the rear suspension is a two-link
live axle A beam axle, rigid axle or solid axle is a dependent suspension design, in which a set of wheels is connected laterally by a single beam or shaft. Beam axles were once commonly used at the rear wheels of a vehicle, but historically they have als ...
design utilizing
trailing arm A trailing-arm suspension, sometimes referred as trailing-link is a vehicle suspension Suspension is the system of tires, tire air, spring (device), springs, shock absorbers and Linkage (mechanical), linkages that connects a vehicle to i ...
s. s must be made of magnetic cast iron or steel and may not exceed 12.72 inches (32.3 centimeters) in diameter. The only aerodynamic components on the vehicles are the ,
spoiler Spoiler may refer to: * Spoiler (aeronautics), a device to reduce lift in aeronautics * Spoiler (car), a device to modify air flow in order to increase fuel efficiency or improve handling in automobiles * Spoiler effect (sports), a team that has ...
,
NACA duct A NACA duct, also sometimes called a NACA scoop or NACA inlet, is a common form of low-drag Drag or The Drag may refer to: Places * Drag, Norway, a village in Tysfjord municipality, Nordland, Norway * ''Drág'', the Hungarian name for Drag ...
s in the windows only, and side skirts. The use of ,
vortex generator A vortex generator (VG) is an aerodynamic Aerodynamics, from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country ...
s,
canard Canard is French for duck, a type of aquatic bird. In both English and French, ''canard'' may mean an unfounded rumor or story. Canard may also refer to: Aviation *Canard (aeronautics), a small wing in front of an aircraft's main wing *Aviaf ...
s, wheel well vents, hood vents, and undertrays is strictly prohibited. While the cars may reach speeds of about on certain tracks, Russ Wicks drove a modified
Dodge Charger The Dodge Charger is a model of automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a self-propelled vehicle, commonly wheeled, that does not operate ...

Dodge Charger
stock car Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of comp ...

stock car
, built to NASCAR's specifications, during a speed record attempt at the
Bonneville Salt Flats The Bonneville Salt Flats are a densely packed salt pan in Tooele County in northwestern Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. st ...

Bonneville Salt Flats
in October 2007. NASCAR Cup Series engines carry a Freescale-provided
electronic control unit An electronic control unit (ECU), also known as an electronic control module (ECM), is an embedded system An embedded system is a computer system A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out Sequence, sequences of arithm ...
, but
traction control A traction control system (TCS), also known as ASR (from german: Antriebsschlupfregelung, lit=drive slippage regulation), is typically (but not necessarily) a secondary function of the electronic stability control Electronic stability control ( ...
and
anti-lock brakes An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is a safety Safety is the state of being "safe", the condition of being protected from harm Harm is a moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic lan ...
are prohibited. Live
telemetry Telemetry is the in situ ''In situ'' (; often not italicized in English) is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken i ...
is used only for television broadcasts, but the data can be recorded from the ECU to the computer if the car is in the garage and not on the track. Cup cars are required to have at least one working windshield wiper installed on the car for the three road courses (, Watkins Glen, and the
Roval Oval track racing is a form of closed-circuit motorsport that is contested on an oval-shaped race track. An oval track differs from a Road racing, road course in that the layout resembles an oval with turns in only one direction, and the directi ...
at the
Charlotte Motor Speedway Charlotte Motor Speedway is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive Sports, sporting events which primarily involve the use of motor vehicles, motorised vehicles, whet ...
) as part of the road racing rules package.


Evolution of Cup cars


Generation 1 (1948-1966)

When the series was formed under the name ''strictly stock'', the cars were just that: production vehicles with no modifications allowed. The term ''
stock car Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of comp ...
'' implied that the vehicles racing were unmodified street cars. Drivers would race with factory installed
bench seat A bench seat is a full width continuous pad forming the front seat of automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a self-propelled vehicle, commo ...

bench seat
s and
AM radio AM broadcasting is radio broadcasting , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata Metadata is " data" that provides information about other data". In other words, it ...
s still in the cars. To prevent broken glass from getting on the race track, windows would be rolled down, external lights would be removed or taped over, and
wing mirror A side-view mirror (or side mirror), also known as a wing mirror, is a mirror Grange, East Yorkshire, UK, from World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europ ...

wing mirror
s would be removed. The 1957 fuel injected 150 model Chevrolet (known as "the black widow") was the first car to be outlawed by NASCAR. The 1957 Chevrolet won the most races, with 59 wins, more than any car to ever race in the cup series. Before the mid-1960s, cars were typically based on full sized cars such as the
Chevrolet Bel Air The Chevrolet Bel Air is a full-size car Full-size car—also known as large car—is a vehicle size class Vehicle size classes are series of ratings assigned to different segments of automotive vehicles for the purposes of vehicle emissi ...

Chevrolet Bel Air
and In 1966,
mid-size car Mid-size—also known as intermediate—is a vehicle size class Vehicle size classes are series of ratings assigned to different segments of automotive vehicles for the purposes of vehicle emissions control and fuel economy calculation. Vari ...
s including the
Ford Fairlane Ford Fairlane may refer to: Automobiles * Ford Fairlane (Americas), a car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company between 1955 and 1970 * Ford Fairlane (Australia), a car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company of Australia between 1959 and 2007 * ...
and
Plymouth Belvedere Plymouth Belvedere is a series of American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as ...
were adopted and soon became the norm.


Generation 2 (1967-1980)

In 1967, modified chaises came to the sport. NASCAR once enforced a
homologation Homologation (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
rule that at various times stated that at least 500 cars had to be produced, or as many as one car for every make's dealership in the nation had to be sold to the general public to allow it to be raced. Eventually, cars were made expressly for NASCAR competition, including the
Ford Torino Talladega The Ford Torino Talladega is a muscle car that was produced by Ford only during the first few weeks of 1969. It was named for the Talladega Superspeedway, which opened the same year. The Talladega was a special, more aerodynamic version of the ...
, which had a rounded nose, and the
Dodge Charger Daytona Dodge, an American automobile brand, produced three separate vehicles with the name Dodge Charger Daytona, all of which were modified Dodge Charger (B-body), Dodge Chargers. The name is taken from Daytona Beach, Florida, which was an early cente ...

Dodge Charger Daytona
and
Plymouth Superbird The Plymouth Superbird was a highly modified, short-lived version of the Plymouth Road Runner with well-known graphics and horn sound. It was the factory's follow up stock car racing design, for the 1970 season, to the Dodge Charger Daytona of 19 ...

Plymouth Superbird
which had a rear wing raised above roof level and a shark shaped nose-cap which enabled race speeds of exactly 200 mph. The Ford-based Mercury Spoiler powered by a Ford Boss 429 engine was timed at 199.6 mph. Beginning in 1971, NASCAR rewrote the rules to effectively force the Ford and Chrysler specialty cars out of competition by limiting them to 305ci (5.0L). The cars affected by this rule include the Ford Talladega, Mercury Spoiler II, Dodge Charger 500, Dodge Charger Daytona and the Plymouth Superbird. This rule was so effective in limiting performance that only one car that season ever attempted to run in this configuration. In 1971, NASCAR handicapped the larger engines with a
restrictor plate #REDIRECTRestrictor plate#REDIRECTRestrictor plate Artist rendering of a NASCAR restrictor plate A restrictor plate or air restrictor is a device installed at the intake of an engine to limit its power. This kind of system is occasionally used in ...
. By 1972, NASCAR phased in a rule to lower the maximum
engine displacement Engine displacement is the measure of the cylinder (engine), cylinder volume swept by all of the pistons of a piston engine, excluding the combustion chambers. It is commonly used as an expression of an engine's size, and by extension as a loo ...
from 429 cubic inches (7.0 liters) to its present 358 cubic inches (5.9 liters). The transition was not complete until 1974 and coincided with American manufacturers ending factory support of racing and the 1973 oil crisis.


Generation 3 (1981–1991)

The downsizing of American cars in the late 1970s presented a challenge for NASCAR. Rules mandated a minimum wheelbase of , but after 1979, none of the models approved for competition met the standard, as mid-sized cars now typically had wheelbases between 105 and 112 inches. After retaining the older models (1977 for the GM makes, and 1979 for Ford and Dodge) through 1980, for the 1981 season the wheelbase requirement was reduced to , which the newer model cars could be stretched to meet without affecting their appearance. The
Buick Regal The Buick Regal is an upscale mid-size Mid-size—also known as intermediate—is a vehicle size class which originated in the United States and is used for cars that are larger than compact cars, but smaller than full-size cars. The equivalen ...

Buick Regal
with its swept-back "shovel" nose initially dominated competition, followed by the rounded, aerodynamic 1983
Ford Thunderbird The Ford Thunderbird (colloquially called the T-Bird) is a personal luxury car Personal luxury car is a North American car classification describing somewhat sporty, sophisticated Mass market, mass-market coupés that emphasized comfort over ...

Ford Thunderbird
. The
Chevrolet Monte Carlo The Chevrolet Monte Carlo is a two-door coupe A coupe or coupé is a passenger car with a sloping or truncated rear roofline and two doors. The term ''coupé'' was first applied to horse-drawn carriages for two passengers without rear-faci ...

Chevrolet Monte Carlo
and
Pontiac Grand Prix The Grand Prix is a line of automobiles produced by the Pontiac Division of General Motors General Motors Company (GM) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating ...

Pontiac Grand Prix
adopted bubble back windows to stay competitive. Amid its financial woes, and after dropping its poor performing (both on the race track and for consumer sales)
Dodge Mirada The Dodge Mirada is a mid-size Mid-size—also known as intermediate—is a vehicle size class which originated in the United States and is used for cars larger than compact cars and smaller than full-size cars. "Large family car" is a UK term ...
and
Chrysler Cordoba The Chrysler Cordoba was both a one year only full-size car, full-sized luxury car based on the Chrysler New Yorker and an intermediate personal luxury car, personal luxury coupe sold by Chrysler (division), Chrysler in North America from 1975 to ...
in 1983,
Chrysler Corporation Chrysler (; officially Stellantis North America) is one of the " Big Three" automobile manufacturer The automotive industry comprises a wide range of companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal pers ...
left NASCAR entirely at the end of the 1985 season.
1987 Events January * January 2 – Chadian–Libyan conflict – Battle of Fada: The Military of Chad, Chadian army destroys a Libyan armoured brigade. * January 3 – Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall o ...
marked a milestone for NASCAR Cup Series cars. During Winston 500 qualifying,
Bill Elliott Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable promissory note A promissory note, sometimes referred to as a note payable ...

Bill Elliott
established a world stock-car record when he posted a speed of . Then the unfortunate happened; during the 22nd lap of the race, driver
Bobby Allison Robert Arthur Allison (born December 3, 1937) is a former American professional stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorspo ...
suffered a flat tire in the middle of
Talladega Superspeedway Talladega Superspeedway, nicknamed “Dega”, and formerly named Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city o ...

Talladega Superspeedway
's
tri-oval A tri-oval is a shape which derives its name from the two other shapes it most resembles, a triangle A triangle is a polygon In geometry, a polygon () is a plane (mathematics), plane Shape, figure that is described by a finite number of ...
. Allison's car hit the
catch fence The following is a glossary of terminology used in motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive Sports, sporting events which primarily involve the use of motor vehicles, motor ...
and tore a hole in the fence approximately long. Several spectators were injured in the accident, including one woman who lost an eye. In the aftermath of the crash, NASCAR mandated the use of a restrictor plate at Talladega Superspeedway and
Daytona International Speedway Daytona International Speedway is a in , . Since opening in 1959, it has been the home of the , the most prestigious race in as well as its season opening event. In addition to NASCAR, the track also hosts races of , , , , and . The track feat ...

Daytona International Speedway
to reduce speeds. By 1989, GM had switched its mid-sized models to V6 engines and front-wheel-drive, but the NASCAR racers only kept the body shape, with the old V8 rear-wheel-drive running gear, rendering obsolete the "stock" nature of the cars.


Generation 4 (1992–2007)

1992 marked the beginning of the generation that stripped all semblance of "stock" from "stock car racing," the Generation 4 car. Body Panels were removed from the sport, and steel bodies were replaced by fiberglass to reduce weight. In 1994, roof flaps were added to all cars after Rusty Wallace's 2 infamous airborne crashes in 1993. In 1995, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo went back to the sport, and that started the trend of rounder body shapes. When the
Ford Thunderbird The Ford Thunderbird (colloquially called the T-Bird) is a personal luxury car Personal luxury car is a North American car classification describing somewhat sporty, sophisticated Mass market, mass-market coupés that emphasized comfort over ...

Ford Thunderbird
was retired after 1997, without Ford having any two-door intermediate bodies, the four-door
Ford Taurus The Ford Taurus is an automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a self-propelled vehicle, commonly wheeled, that does not operate on Track (r ...

Ford Taurus
body was used (although NASCAR racers actually have no opening doors). While the manufacturers and models of automobiles used in racing were named for production cars ( Dodge Charger R/T,
Chevrolet Impala SS Chevrolet ( ), colloquially referred to as Chevy and formally the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors General Motors Company (GM) is an American mul ...
,
Toyota Camry The Toyota Camry (; Japanese: トヨタ・カムリ ''Toyota Kamuri'') is an automobile sold internationally by the Japanese manufacturer Toyota is a Japanese manufacturer headquartered in , , Japan. It was founded by and incorporated o ...

Toyota Camry
, and the
Ford Fusion Ford Fusion may refer to: * Ford Fusion (Americas), mid-size car produced between 2006 and 2020 model year ** Ford Fusion Hybrid, gasoline-electric hybrid powered version ** Ford Fusion Energi, plug-in hybrid version * Ford Fusion (Europe), mini MP ...
), the similarities between NASCAR Cup Series cars and actual production cars were limited to a small amount of shaping and painting of the nose, headlight and tail light
decal A decal (, , ) or transfer is a plastic Plastics are a wide range of synthetic polymers, synthetic or semi-synthetic materials that use polymers as a main ingredient. Their Plasticity (physics), plasticity makes it possible for plastics to ...

decal
s, and grill areas. Until 2003, the hood, roof, and decklid were still required to be identical to their stock counterparts. It was in this time that NASCAR engaged in the practice of mandating rule changes during the season if one particular car model became overly dominant. This often led to claims that some teams would attempt sandbagging to receive more favorable handicaps. Because of the notorious manner of the
Ford Taurus The Ford Taurus is an automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a self-propelled vehicle, commonly wheeled, that does not operate on Track (r ...

Ford Taurus
race car and how the manufacturer turned the car into an "offset" car (the car was notoriously
asymmetrical Asymmetry is the absence of, or a violation of, symmetry (the property of an object being invariant to a transformation, such as reflection). Symmetry is an important property of both physical and abstract systems and it may be displayed in pre ...

asymmetrical
in race trim because of its oval shape), NASCAR ended this practice to put more emphasis on parity and based new body rules in 2003, similar to short track racing, where offset cars had become a burden for race officials, resulting in the "Approved Body Configuration" design.


Car of Tomorrow (2007–2012)

In 2007, NASCAR introduced a radically new vehicle specification known as the "Car of Tomorrow" (CoT). The CoT made its debut at
Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol Motor Speedway, formerly known as Bristol International Raceway and Bristol Raceway, is a NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating ...
in March 2007. Initially, it was only used at 16 selected events.NASCAR.com
"Harvick pleased after testing Car of Tomorrow" Retrieved August 29, 2005
While NASCAR had originally planned to wait until the start of the 2009 season to use the CoT in every race, the date was changed to the start of the 2008 season. Many drivers still had complaints about the CoT, but this new timeline was intended to help teams save money by giving them only one car specification to work on. The design of the CoT has focused on cost control, parity, and driver safety. The car's width was increased by 4 inches (10 centimeters), the bumpers were re-designed to render bump and run tactics less effective, and the height of the car has increased by 2 inches (5 centimeters) to accommodate taller drivers and increase
aerodynamic drag In fluid dynamics In physics and engineering, fluid dynamics is a subdiscipline of fluid mechanics that describes the flow of fluids—liquids and gases. It has several subdisciplines, including ''aerodynamics'' (the study of air and other ...
. The driver's seat was moved closer to the center of the car. The change most notable to fans was the addition of a rear wing replacing the familiar
spoiler Spoiler may refer to: * Spoiler (aeronautics), a device to reduce lift in aeronautics * Spoiler (car), a device to modify air flow in order to increase fuel efficiency or improve handling in automobiles * Spoiler effect (sports), a team that has ...
. The wings could be adjusted between 0 and 16 degrees and used with multiple configurations of end plates. The new rules eliminate the asymmetrical bodies on cars, which had run rampant since the 1998 Taurus release. However, almost all advantages of using one car over another have been nullified. NASCAR requires all CoTs to conform to common body
templates Template may refer to: Tools * Die (manufacturing) A die is a specialized machine tool A machine tool is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an action. Machines can ...
, regardless of make and model. The rear wing remained a controversial feature for a few years. Its appearance was often criticized, and it was accused of forcing cars to become airborne in high-speed spins such as the one experienced by Carl Edwards during the
2009 Aaron's 499 The 2009 Aaron's 499 was the ninth race of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. With a distance of , it was held on April 26, 2009 at the Talladega Superspeedway Talladega Superspeedway, nicknamed “Dega”, and formerly named Alabama Intern ...
at
Talladega Superspeedway Talladega Superspeedway, nicknamed “Dega”, and formerly named Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city o ...

Talladega Superspeedway
. In 2010 NASCAR decided to replace the wing with the original spoiler. The switch began with the 2010 Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at
Martinsville Speedway Martinsville Speedway is an International Speedway Corporation International Speedway Corporation (ISC) was a corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a sin ...
. In 2011, NASCAR altered the nose of the car once more, with the splitter being reduced in size and the braces being replaced by a solid front valence. A major engine change occurred in 2012 with NASCAR's introduction of Fuel injection in NASCAR, fuel injection technology. Initially NASCAR indicated that it would transition to fuel injection midway through the 2011 season but decided before that season to put off the change until 2012.


Generation 6 car (2013–2021)

In 2013, manufacturers were given increased leeway for branding their NASCAR Cup Series cars, creating the Generation Six race car. These changes were made so the cars would resemble their street counterparts more closely, as was done in the
Xfinity Series The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) is a stock car racing Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sp ...
in 2011. All NASCAR Cup Series cars began utilizing a digital dash sold by McLaren Automotive, McLaren in 2016. This dash includes sixteen customizable preset screens, allowing the driver to monitor all the previous info with several additional elements such as lap time and engine diagnostics, for a total of twenty-four data elements. Information can be displayed as a gauge, numeral, bar graph or LED.


Setup

The automobiles' suspension, brakes, and aerodynamic components are also selected to tailor the cars to different racetracks. A car that understeers is said to be "tight", or "pushing", causing the car to keep going up the track with the wheel turned all the way left, while one that oversteers is said to be "loose" or "free", causing the back end of the car to slide around, which can result in the car spinning out if the driver is not careful. The adjustment of front and rear aerodynamic downforce, spring rates, track bar geometry, brake proportioning, the wedge (also known as cross-weight), changing the camber angle, and changing the air pressure in the tires can all change the distribution of forces among the tires during cornering to correct for handling problems. Recently, coil bind setups have become popular among teams. These characteristics are also affected by tire stagger (tires of different circumference at different positions on the car, the right rear having the most influence in left turns) and rubber compounds used in tire construction. These settings are determined by NASCAR and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Goodyear engineers and may not be adjusted by individual teams. Changing weather conditions may also affect a car's handling. In a long race, it is sometimes advantageous to prepare a car to handle well at the end of an event while surrendering the advantage of speed at the start. On oval races, rain forces a race to be halted immediately. NASCAR had developed rain tires for Cup Series road racing as early as late 1990s, but initially abandoned them because there at the time were not enough road courses on the schedule to justify the cost of making more tires to replace them as they aged. The first in-race use of rain tires in the Cup Series were at the 2020 Bank of America Roval 400 and the 2021 Texas Grand Prix. Prior to these, a 1956 race at Road America was held in rain; Tim Flock won the race.


Specifications (Gen 6)

* Chassis: Steel tube frame with integral safety roll cage – must meet NASCAR standards * Engine displacement/configuration: 90° Overhead valve engine, pushrod (OHV) V8 engine, V8 * Transmission: 4-speed Manual transmission, manual H-pattern * Weight: minimum without driver and fuel; minimum with driver and fuel * Power output: on tracks 1 mile or below; on tracks greater than one mile (2019) * Torque: * Fuel: Sunoco 93 octane rating, MON, 104 octane rating, RON, 98 octane rating, AKI 85% unleaded gasoline + Sunoco Green Ethanol E15 15% * Fuel capacity: most tracks * Fuel delivery: Electronic multi-point indirect port fuel injection * Fuel injection type: McLaren Applied Technologies#Electronics, McLaren Electronic Systems * ECU provider: McLaren Freescale Semiconductor, Freescale TAG-400N * Compression ratio: 12:1 * Aspiration: Naturally-aspirated engine, Naturally-aspirated * Wheelbase: * Steering: Power steering, Power, recirculating ball * Tires: Slick tire, Slick (all tracks) and rain tires (road courses only if in case of rainy conditions) provided by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Goodyear Eagle **Front and rear tire sizes: 305/711-R15 (12.0/28.0-R15) * Safety equipment: HANS device and six-point harness mandated, with seven-point harness optional


Cup tracks

Presently, the NASCAR Cup Series is held mainly in eastern states, with only six tracks located west of the Mississippi River. Cup Series races are not conducted on standardized tracks; the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, 2017 season included 21 Oval track racing, oval tracks and 2 road course, road courses. The lap length of the oval tracks vary from at
Martinsville Speedway Martinsville Speedway is an International Speedway Corporation International Speedway Corporation (ISC) was a corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a sin ...
to at
Talladega Superspeedway Talladega Superspeedway, nicknamed “Dega”, and formerly named Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city o ...

Talladega Superspeedway
. The majority of the oval tracks are paved with asphalt, while 3 tracks are wholly or partially paved with concrete. Although the series historically raced on dirt tracks, it ceased to do so for more than 50 years after the 1970 season. In 2021, dirt racing returned to the schedule with a March event at
Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol Motor Speedway, formerly known as Bristol International Raceway and Bristol Raceway, is a NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating ...
. While some tracks are true ovals, such as
Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol Motor Speedway, formerly known as Bristol International Raceway and Bristol Raceway, is a NASCAR#REDIRECT NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating ...
, over half the tracks currently in Cup competition are a form of
tri-oval A tri-oval is a shape which derives its name from the two other shapes it most resembles, a triangle A triangle is a polygon In geometry, a polygon () is a plane (mathematics), plane Shape, figure that is described by a finite number of ...
. Other configurations include
Darlington Raceway Darlington Raceway is a race track built for NASCAR racing located in Darlington, South Carolina. It is nicknamed "The Lady in Black" and "The Track Too Tough to Tame" by many NASCAR fans and drivers and advertised as "A NASCAR Tradition." It is ...
's characteristic uneven "egg" shape, the triangular
Pocono Raceway Pocono Raceway (formerly Pocono International Raceway), also known as ''The Tricky Triangle'', is a superspeedway located in the Pocono Mountains in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. It is the site of four NASCAR national series races and an ARCA Men ...

Pocono Raceway
, and the rectangle of
Indianapolis Motor Speedway The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an automobile racing circuit located in Speedway, Indiana Speedway is a town in Wayne Township, Marion County, Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States The United Sta ...

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
. While NASCAR is known for primarily running counter-clockwise on oval tracks, Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International are complex road courses which are raced clockwise. The series' first road course event was held in 1954, at Linden Airport in New Jersey. Since 1963, the series has raced on at least one road course every year. Courses have a wide range of Banked turn, banking in the corners. New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with 7 degrees of banking, has the flattest corners, while the steepest banking is
Talladega Superspeedway Talladega Superspeedway, nicknamed “Dega”, and formerly named Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city o ...

Talladega Superspeedway
's 33 degrees. Tracks also vary in amount of banking on the straightaways, from entirely flat on many courses to 9 degrees at Dover International Speedway. Race speeds vary widely depending on the track. The fastest track is Talladega Superspeedway, where the record average speed is and the record qualifying lap is , set by
Bill Elliott Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable promissory note A promissory note, sometimes referred to as a note payable ...

Bill Elliott
in 1987. The record stands unlikely to be broken, as
restrictor plate #REDIRECTRestrictor plate#REDIRECTRestrictor plate Artist rendering of a NASCAR restrictor plate A restrictor plate or air restrictor is a device installed at the intake of an engine to limit its power. This kind of system is occasionally used in ...
s were made mandatory at superspeedways in 1988 to reduce speeds, and the plates were then replaced in 2019 by tapered spacers which still reduced enough horsepower to prevent cars from going beyond speed of 205 mph. The slowest tracks are Sonoma Raceway, a road course with a record average speed of only and a record qualifying lap of , and Martinsville Speedway, a short, nearly flat "paper clip" oval, with a record average speed of and a record qualifying lap of . The average speed of a race is determined by dividing the winner's race time (from the waving of the Racing flags#The green flag, green flag to the waving of the checkered flag, including laps spent under caution) by the distance of the race. Time elapsed during Racing flags#The red flag, red flag periods is not included in the calculation of the average speed.


See also

* Can-Am Duel * List of all-time NASCAR Cup Series winners * List of NASCAR Cup Series champions * List of NASCAR drivers * List of NASCAR race tracks * List of NASCAR teams * NASCAR Xfinity Series * NASCAR Camping World Truck Series * NASCAR rules and regulations * 2021 NASCAR Cup Series


References


External links

*
Racing Reference
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