NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Cup Series logo.png
Governing body NASCAR
Inaugural season 1949
Series sponsor Winston
Monster Energy
Manufacturers Chevrolet
Most recent champion Chase Elliott

The 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, Sprint Cup Series, and the Monster Energy Cup Series.

History[edit | edit source]

Strictly Stock[edit | edit source]

The top tier NASCAR series was originally called the Strictly Stock series in 1949. Red Byron was the 1st NASCAR Champion.

Grand National[edit | edit source]

In 1950, the NASCAR cup series was renamed as the Grand National series. In 1965, the Gen 1 car was replaced by the Gen 2 car.

Winston Cup[edit | edit source]

In 1971, NASCAR's premier series was renamed as the Winston Cup Series. It was sponsored by Winston Cigarettes as an advertising mechanism to bring attention to its Winston brand of cigarettes. In 1981, the Gen 2 car was replaced by the Gen 3 car. Later in 1991, the Gen 3 car was replaced by the Gen 4 car (there is much debate among fans as to when Gen 4 truly began, with many placing it around 1995-96).

NEXTEL Cup[edit | edit source]

In 2003, RJR dropped its sponsorship of the top series, and NASCAR obtained a sponsorship deal 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. During the 2007 season, which is the final year that it was named the NEXTEL Cup, the Gen 4 car was replaced by the Car of Tomorrow.

Sprint Cup[edit | edit source]

The merger between Sprint and NEXTEL resulted in the series being renamed Sprint Cup Series in 2008. In 2013, the Car of Tomorrow was replaced by the Gen 6 car. In early 2015, it was announced Sprint would stop sponsoring the series after 2016.

Monster Energy Cup[edit | edit source]

After Sprint's sponsorship came to an end after 2016, the series was known as the Monster Energy Cup Series from 2017-2019.

NASCAR Cup[edit | edit source]

Beginning with the 2020 season NASCAR's top level of competition is now known as the NASCAR Cup Series. As part of a tiered sponsorship model, Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, GEICO, and Xfinity became the Premier Partners of the series, with Coca-Cola also assuming naming rights of the regular season trophy. In 2022, the Gen 6 car will be replaced by the Next Gen car (AKA Gen 7 car); it was originally scheduled to debut in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted on-track activity.

Name history[edit | edit source]

Name Year(s) Logo
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 Cup Series 2017-2019
NASCAR Cup Series 2020-present

Chase for the Championship[edit | edit source]

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, the 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 organized 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 canceled 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 2004-2006 the Chase was shown on NBC and TNT. Beginning in 2007, ABC has acquired the license to air the Chase, until 2014.

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 the 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 a linear scale for first 25 positions: 25-24-23-... Coefficients changed, but they 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. The 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. The system stopped from 50th place. This system was in use until the end of 1971 season.

In 1972, together with shortening the schedule, the 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 the 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 standardize 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.

Cup Driver's Championship[edit | edit source]

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).

Champions[edit | edit source]

Year Driver No. Sponsor Make Owner(s) Wins Earnings
1949 Red Byron 22 Parks Novelty Oldsmobile Raymond Parks 2 $5,800
1950 Bill Rexford 60 - Oldsmobile Julian Buesink 1 $6,175
1951 Herb Thomas 92 - Hudson Himself 7 $21,025
1952 Tim Flock 91 - Hudson Ted Chester 8 $22,890
1953 Herb Thomas 92 - Hudson Himself 12 $28,910
1954 Lee Petty 42 - Chrysler Petty Enterprises 7 $21,127
1955 Tim Flock 300 Mercury Marine/Mercury Outboards Chrysler Carl Kiekhaefer 18 $37,780
1956 Buck Baker 300 Mercury Marine/Mercury Outboards Chrysler Carl Kiekhaefer 14 $34,076
1957 Buck Baker 87 - Chevrolet Himself/Hugh Babb 10 $30,763
1958 Lee Petty 42 - Oldsmobile Petty Enterprises 7 $26,565
1959 Lee Petty 42 - Plymouth Petty Enterprises 11 $49,219
1960 Rex White 4 Piedmont/Friendly Chevrolet Himself 6 $57,525
1961 Ned Jarrett 11 - Chevrolet Himself/B.G. Holloway 1 $41,056
1962 Joe Weatherly 8 - Pontiac Bud Moore 9 $70,742
1963 Joe Weatherly 8 - Pontiac Bud Moore 3 $74,624
1964 Richard Petty 43 - Chevrolet Petty Enterprises 9 $114,771
1965 Ned Jarrett 11 - Ford Bondy Long 13 $93,624
1966 David Pearson 6 - Dodge Cotton Owens 15 $78,194
1967 Richard Petty 43 - Plymouth Petty Enterprises 27 $150,196
1968 David Pearson 17 - Ford Holman-Moody 16 $133,065
1969 David Pearson 17 - Ford Holman-Moody 11 $229,760
1970 Bobby Issac 71 K&K Insurance Dodge Nord Krauskopf 11 $199,600
1971 Richard Petty 43 - Plymouth Petty Enterprises 21 $351,071
1972 Richard Petty 43 STP Plymouth Petty Enterprises 8 $339,405
1973 Benny Parsons 72 Union Racing Oil/Russell Bennett Chevrolet L.G. DeWitt 1 $182,321
1974 Richard Petty 43 STP Dodge Petty Enterprises 10 $432,019
1975 Richard Petty 43 STP Dodge Petty Enterprises 13 $481,751
1976 Cale Yarborough 11 Holly Farms Chevrolet Junior Johnson 9 $453,404
1977 Cale Yarborough 11 Holly Farms Chevrolet Junior Johnson 9 $561,641
1978 Cale Yarborough 11 First National City Oldsmobile Junior Johnson 10 $623,506
1979 Richard Petty 43 STP Chevrolet Petty Enterprises 5 $561,933
1980 Dale Earnhardt 2 Mike Curb/Hodgdon Chevrolet Rod Osterlund 5 $671,990
1981 Darrell Waltrip 11 Mountain Dew Buick Junior Johnson 12 $799,134
1982 Darrell Waltrip 11 Mountain Dew Buick Junior Johnson 12 $923,151
1983 Bobby Allison 22 Miller High Life Buick Bill Gardner 6 $883,009
1984 Terry Labonte 44 Piedmont Airlines Chevrolet Billy Hagan 2 $767,716
1985 Darrell Waltrip 11 Budweiser Chevrolet Junior Johnson 3 $1,318,375
1986 Dale Earnhardt 3 Wrangler Jeans Chevrolet Richard Childress 5 $1,768,880
1987 Dale Earnhardt 3 Wrangler Jeans Chevrolet Richard Childress 11 $2,069,243
1988 Bill Elliott 9 Coors Ford Harry Melling 6 $1,554,639
1989 Rusty Wallace 27 Kodiak Pontiac Raymond Beadle 6 $2,237,950
1990 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Richard Childress 9 $3,308,056
1991 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Richard Childress 4 $2,416,685
1992 Alan Kulwicki 7 Hooters Ford Himself 2 $2,322,561
1993 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Richard Childress 6 $3,353,789
1994 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Richard Childress 4 $3,300,733
1995 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 7 $4,347,343
1996 Terry Labonte 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 2 $4,030,648
1997 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 10 $6,375,658
1998 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 13 $9,306,584
1999 Dale Jarrett 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford Robert Yates 4 $6,649,596
2000 Bobby Labonte 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Joe Gibbs 4 $7,361,386
2001 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Automotive Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 6 $10,879,757
2002 Tony Stewart 20 Home Depot Pontiac Joe Gibbs 3 $9,163,761
2003 Matt Kenseth 17 DeWalt Ford Jack Roush 1 $9,422,764
2004 Kurt Busch 97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Ford Jack Roush 3 $9,677,543
2005 Tony Stewart 20 Home Depot Chevrolet Joe Gibbs Racing 5 $13,578,168
2006 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 5 $15,875,125
2007 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 10 $15,313,920
2008 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 7 $15,170,464
2009 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 7 $14,388,237
2010 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 6 $13,393,186
2011 Tony Stewart 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Stewart-Haas Racing 5 $12,671,071
2012 Brad Keselowski 2 Miller Lite Dodge Roger Penske 5 $12,106,255
2013 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 6 $14,663,155
2014 Kevin Harvick 4 Budweiser Chevrolet Stewart-Haas Racing 5 $12,762,411
2015 Kyle Busch 18 M&M's Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing 5 $8,393,925
2016 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 5 N/A
2017 Martin Truex, Jr. 78 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Furniture Row Racing 8 N/A
2018 Joey Logano 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Roger Penske 3 N/A
2019 Kyle Busch 18 M&M's Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing 5 N/A
2020 Chase Elliott 9 NAPA Chevrolet Rick Hendrick 5 N/A

Cup tracks[edit | edit source]

Current NASCAR Cup Series tracks
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Hampton, GA
Auto Club Speedway
Fontana, CA
Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol, TN
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, NC
Circuit of the Americas
Austin, TX
Darlington Raceway
Darlington, SC
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Dover International Speedway
Dover, DE
Homestead-Miami Speedway
Homestead, FL
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Speedway, IN
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, NV
Martinsville Speedway
Martinsville, VA
Michigan International Speedway
Brooklyn, MI
Nashville Superspeedway
Lebanon, TN
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Loudon, NH
Phoenix Raceway
Avondale, AZ
Pocono Raceway
Long Pond, PA
Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma, CA
Richmond Raceway
Richmond, VA
Road America
Elkhart Lake, WI
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, AL
Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, TX
Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen, NY

Manufacturer history[edit | edit source]

Manufacturer Model Years active
U.S Flag.png American Motors Hudson Hornet Early 1950's
AMC Matador 1971-1978
U.S Flag.png Buick
Buick Gran Sport 1970's
Buick Century 1976-1980
Buick Regal 1981-1985
Buick LaSabre 1986-1987
Buick Regal 1988-1991
U.S Flag.png Chevrolet
Chevrolet Bel Air 1952-1958
Chevrolet Chevelle 1964-1980
Chevrolet Impala 1979-1980
Chevrolet Monte Carlo 1971-1988
Chevrolet Lumina 1989-1994
Chevrolet Monte Carlo 1995-2006
Chevrolet Monte Carlo (COT) 2007
Chevrolet Impala (COT) 2008-2010
Chevrolet Impala 2011-2012
Chevrolet SS 2013-2017
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1/ZL1 1LE 2018-present
U.S Flag.png Dodge
DeSoto 1952
Dodge Coronet 1953-1957
DeSoto 1959
Dodge 440 1964
Dodge Coronet 1965-1968
Dodge Charger/Dodge Daytona 1966-1977
Dodge Magnum 1978-1980
Dodge Mirada 1981-1985
Dodge Intrepid 2001-2004
Dodge Charger R/T 2005-2006
Dodge Avenger (COT version used in 2007) 2007
Dodger Charger R/T (COT) 2008-2010
Dodge Charger R/T 2011-2012
U.S Flag.png Ford
Ford Fairlane 1955-1959, 1966-1967
Ford Galaxie 1960-1966
Ford Torino 1968-1977
Ford Thunderbird 1959-1960, 1977-1997
Ford Taurus 1998-2005
Ford Fusion (COT) 2006-2010
Ford Fusion 2011-2018
Ford Mustang 2019-present
Japan Flag.png Toyota
Toyota Camry (COT) 2007-2010
Toyota Camry 2011-present

Most championships won[edit | edit source]

NASCAR Cup Series trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The youngest Cup champion was Bill Rexford in 1950, 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 Bill France Cup trophy is made out of machined aluminum and is adorned by the outlines of all 23 NASCAR Cup Series tracks. It is 37 inches tall and weighs 68 pounds and can hold nearly 600 ounces of liquid.
  • The Cup Series awards banquet is held at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Tony Stewart and Cale Yarborough are the only drivers to finish last in the Daytona 500 and still win the Cup Series title later in the season.
  • The Pettys (Lee Petty and Richard Petty), the Jarretts (Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett), and the Elliotts (Bill Elliott and Chase Elliott) are the only father-son duos to win Cup Series titles.
  • The Labonte brothers (Bobby Labonte and Terry Labonte), and the Busch brothers (Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch) are the only two set of brothers to win the series championship.
  • 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.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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