With the news today that NASCAR may be about to rename their top series the NASCAR Sprint Cup, one has to ask themselves this question: Is NASCAR about to confuse fans and non-fans alike? Yes, as many auto racing fans know, there is an actual type of racing format known as sprint car racing. Sprint racing often involves small, wing-topped cars fueled with alcohol that are designed for use on race tracks—unlike the “stock cars” which look and operate much more like the typical, mass-produced models which provide the basic design and mechanical scheme for NASCAR’s top-series cars.
What is NASCAR thinking? How could the almost-sixty-year-old racing body allow a company named Sprint to sponsor a stock car series? It is confusing enough that NASCAR is once again renaming their top racing series—think of the number of people who still refer to the prestigious class of NASCAR racing as the Winston Cup. Now, NASCAR is going to befuddle people once again with not only a new name but one that, for many, seems to belie the very type of racing for which the sponsor supports. What would happen if there was a company named “Dragster” that wanted to prominently support the elite stock car series? Would NASCAR begin fielding a stock car tier called NASCAR Dragster Cup Series? Though seemingly an absurd name for a stock car, oval-and-road-course series, this hypothetical now does not seem that far-fetched.
NASCAR may have been well-suited in many respects to shed an image of cigarettes and nicotine by ceasing a naming relationship with Winston. However, remembering the name of NASCAR’s top series may become harder if the main sponsor is liable to change every few years. What is more, NASCAR should be wary of accepting a sponsor name that may confuse fans and laymen alike as to what sort of racing is going on under a said sponsor’s banner.
Perhaps NASCAR should pursue even more ambitiously companies like Coca Cola or Pepsi—names that have worldwide recognition, roll off the tongue, and can in no way refer to an aspect a type of racing. How about the NASCAR Coke Cup series? The NASCAR Pepsi Cup series? No racing-format confusion and, furthermore, it just may make the consumers and racing fans alike crave for a cup of Coke or a cup of Pepsi. That would be the best of both worlds.
You see, there are no such things as Winston cars, Nextel cars, Coke cars, or Pepsi cars, but there are indeed sprint cars. Therein lies the paradoxical problem: NASCAR Sprint Cup will have nothing to do with sprint car racing.