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Sprint Cup Series
Cateogry: Stock car racing
Country: Image:U.S Flag.png United States
Inaugural Season: 1949
Drivers: 49
Teams: 22
Manufacturers Image:U.S Flag.png Chevrolet
Image:U.S Flag.png Dodge
Image:U.S Flag.png Ford
Image:Japan Flag.png Toyota
Last Champion Driver Jimmie Johnson
Last Champion Team Hendrick Motorsports
Last Make Champion Chevrolet

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is NASCAR's top racing series. In the past, it was known as the Strictly Stock Series, the Grand National Series, the Winston Cup Series, the Nextel Cup Series, and the Sprint Cup Series




Grand National

From 1950 through 1970, the top tier NASCAR series was called the Grand National, not to be confused with the later Busch Grand National Series (now simply the Nationwide Series), the second tier division of NASCAR.

Winston Cup

From 1971 through 2003, NASCAR's premier series was called the Winston Cup Series. It was sponsored by Winston Cigarettes as an advertising mechanism to bring attention to its Winston brand of cigarettes. In its later years, RJR's sponsorship became more controversial in the wake of US legislation that sharply restricted avenues for tobacco advertising.


In 2003, RJR dropped its sponsorship of the top series, and NASCAR obtained a sponsorship from NEXTEL, a telecommunications company. The change of sponsorship, essentially caused the Winston Cup to become obsolete and merely a part of NASCAR history. Starting in 2004, the premier series was known as the NEXTEL Cup.

Name History

Year Series Name
1949 Strickly Stock
1950-1970 Grand National Series
1971-2003 Winston
2004-2007 Nextel
2008-present Sprint

Sprint Cup

The merger between Sprint and NEXTEL resulted in the series being renamed Sprint Cup in 2008.

Chase for the Championship

Short track racing, the grassroots of NASCAR, began experimenting with ideas to help the entry-level racer. In 2001, the United Speed Alliance Racing organisation, sanctioning body of the Hooters ProCup, a late-model series, devised a five-race playoff system where the top teams in their Hooters ProCup North and Hooters ProCup South divisions would participate in a five-race playoff, the Four Champions, named for the four Hooters Racing staff members (including 1992 NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki) and pilot killed in an April 1, 1993 plane crash in Blountville, Tennessee. The system organised the teams with starting points based on the team's performance in their division (division champions earn a bonus), and the teams would participate in a five-race playoff. The five races, added to the team's seeding points, would determine the winner. The 2001 version was four races, as one was cancelled because of the September 11th terrorist attacks; however, NASCAR watched as the ProCup's Four Champions became a success and drivers from the series began looking at NASCAR rides.

When Nextel took over NASCAR's premier sponsorship for the 2004 season, they looked to USAR and the Hooters ProCup for two major changes in scoring. First, five additional points were added for a race win. Second, a new formula for declaring a series champion based on the ProCup system was devised. A cut was made after 26 teams, with the high ten drivers and teams plus ties, and anyone within 400 points of the leader placed in the Chase for the Championship (or simply "The Chase"). The Chase participants have their points increased to a level mathematically unattainable by anyone outside this field (roughly 1800 points ahead of the first driver outside of the Chase), which usually is 5,050 points for the leader, with other positions dropping by five points per position, with a limit of 5,000 points after ties and the 400 point cut. Race layouts remain the same and points are scored the same way in the final 10 races. Whoever leads in points after the 36th race is declared the Sprint Cup champion. A special award is also given to the highest finishing non-Chase driver to encourage continued competition among all drivers -- which usually includes the final position on the stage for the awards banquet.

This playoff system was implemented primarily to make the points race more competitive late in the season, and indirectly, to increase television ratings during the NFL season, which starts around the same time as the Chase begins. Furthermore, the Chase also forces teams to perform at their best during all three stages of the season -- the first half of the regular season, the second half of the regular season, and the Chase.

Previously, the Cup champion may have been decided before the last race (or even several races before the end of the season) because it was mathematically impossible for any other driver to gain enough points to overtake the leader.

From 2004-2006 the Chase was shown on NBC Sports and TNT. Beginning in 2007, ABC Sports 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 championship from 1949 till 1951 awarded points on basis 10 points for the 1st place, 9 pts for 2nd, 8 pts for 3rd and so on, multiplied by 0.05*race purse (Race worth $4000 paid 200 points to the winner, 180 for 2nd place...). No info about how many points were given to drivers finishing below 10th place.

From 1952 till 1967 NASCAR point system was based on linear scale for first 25 positions: 25-24-23-... Coefficients changed, but were always depending on prize money. From 25th place down there were awarded the same number of points.

In 1968 NASCAR started to award points depending on race distance, not prize money. Point system was 50-49-48-... multiplied by 1 for events to 249 miles, 2 for events 250-399 miles and 3 for events 400 miles and more. System stopped from 50th place. This system was in use until the end of 1971 season.

In 1972, together with shortening the schedule, point system was also modified. Basic points of 100-98-96-... were awarded for each race. Additionally, lap points were awarded for the number of laps completed. Tracks under 1 mile, 0.25 points a lap; 1-mile tracks, 0.50; 1.3-mile track (Darlington), 0.70; 1.5-mile tracks, 0.75; 2-mile tracks (Michigan), 1.00; tracks 2.5 miles and over, 1.25. This system was also used in 1973.

In 1974 points system was simple: Total money winnings from all track purses (qualifying and contingency awards did not count), in dollars, multiplied by the number of races started, and the resulting figure divided by 1,000 determined the number of points earned. By the end of the season Richard Petty had such a big lead in points, that he increased it even by finishing 30th while his main rival Cale Yarborough made a top-5 (Remember - the money was multiplied by the number of races started. Even if Cale made more money in one particular race, when the total money was multiplied by e. g. 27, the difference between the two leaders could also increase in comparison with situation after race 26).

Current NASCAR's points system was developed in 1975 following years of trouble in trying to develop a points system -- from 1949 until 1971, six different systems were used, and in 1972, NASCAR used a different system each year for the next three years.

That type of inconsistency, which included a system which rewarded most mileage for the entire season, and then another year where mileage and finishing positions were counted, favoured larger circuits, and some fans complained about a champion who only won one race. That resulted in a 1974 ill-fated attempt at basing the points system on money and starts. Even though one driver won consecutive races, his opponent who had won the big money races had scored more points.

Bob Latford, a former public relations official at Lowe's Motor Speedway, devised NASCAR's most popular points system, which was adopted in 1975, which NASCAR used two different versions for their series from 1982 until 1998. In the system, the winner received 175 points, second 170 points, and other positions exactly the same as the current points system.

Until 1998, the Busch Series points system offered 180 points for the winner, but no bonuses for leading laps. The same was true for the Craftsman Truck Series until the end of that season, when NASCAR decided to standardise the points system for their series.

One complaint about the points system was how a driver could finish second and receive an equal number of points as a race winner, which was possible if the driver who led the most laps finished second. NASCAR fixed the problem in 2004 by adding five points to the winner.

Sprint Cup Driver's Championship

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).

List of Champions

Previous NASCAR season champions and earnings (USD):

Sprint Cup

Sprint Cup

NOTE: Wins refer to total wins in the season. Chase wins are in parentheses. Seeding refers to a team's points position starting with the Chase.

Year Driver Car# Sponsor Make Owner Wins Earnings
2009 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala Hendrick Motorsports 7 (4) $7,137,363
2008 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala Hendrick Motorsports 7 (3) $15,170,464

Nextel Cup

NOTE: Wins refer to total wins in the season. Chase wins are in parentheses. Seeding refers to a team's points position starting with the Chase.

Year Driver Car# Sponsor Make Owner Wins Earnings
2007 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala Hendrick Motorsports 10 (4) $15,313,920
2006 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo Hendrick Motorsports 5 (1) $15,875,125
2005 Tony Stewart 20 Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo Joe Gibbs Racing 5 (0) $13,578,168
2004 Kurt Busch 97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Ford Taurus Roush Racing 3 (1) $9,677,543

Winston Cup

Year Driver Car# Sponsor Make Owner Wins Earnings
2003 Matt Kenseth 17 DeWalt Ford Taurus Roush Racing 1 $9,422,764
2002 Tony Stewart 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix Joe Gibbs Racing 3 $9,163,761
2001 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Automotive Chevrolet Monte Carlo Hendrick Motorsports 6 $10,879,757
2000 Bobby Labonte 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix Joe Gibbs Racing 4 $7,361,386
1999 Dale Jarrett 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford Taurus Yates Racing 4 $6,649,596
1998 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet Monte Carlo Hendrick Motorsports 13 $9,306,584
1997 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet Monte Carlo Hendrick Motorsports 10 $6,375,658
1996 Terry Labonte 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet Monte Carlo Hendrick Motorsports 2 $4,030,648
1995 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet Monte Carlo Hendrick Motorsports 7 $4,347,343
1994 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Lumina Richard Childress Racing 4 $3,300,733
1993 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Lumina Richard Childress Racing 6 $3,353,789
1992 Alan Kulwicki 7 Hooters Ford Thunderbird Alan Kulwicki 2 $2,322,561
1991 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Lumina Richard Childress Racing 4 $2,416,685
1990 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Lumina Richard Childress Racing 9 $3,308,056
1989 Rusty Wallace 27 Kodiak Pontiac Grand Prix Raymond Beadle 6 $2,237,950
1988 Bill Elliott 9 Coors Ford Thunderbird Harry Melling 6 $1,554,639
1987 Dale Earnhardt 3 Wrangler Jeans Chevrolet Monte Carlo Richard Childress Racing 11 $2,069,243
1986 Dale Earnhardt 3 Wrangler Jeans Chevrolet Monte Carlo Richard Childress Racing 5 $1,768,880
1985 Darrell Waltrip 11 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo Junior Johnson 3 $1,318,375
1984 Terry Labonte 44 Piedmont Airlines Chevrolet Monte Carlo Billy Hagan 2 $767,716
1983 Bobby Allison 22 Miller Highlife Buick Bill Gardner 6 $883,009
1982 Darrell Waltrip 11 Mountain Dew Buick Regal Junior Johnson 12 $923,151
1981 Darrell Waltrip 11 Mountain Dew Buick Regal Junior Johnson 12 $799,134
1980 Dale Earnhardt 2 Mike Curb/Hodgdon Chevrolet Monte Carlo Rod Osterlund 5 $671,990
1979 Richard Petty 43 STP Chevrolet Monte Carlo Petty Enterprises 5 $561,933
1978 Cale Yarborough 11 First National City Oldsmobile Cutlass Junior Johnson 5 $623,506
1977 Cale Yarborough 11 Holly Farms Chevrolet Malibu Junior Johnson 9 $561,641
1976 Cale Yarborough 11 Holly Farms Chevrolet Chevelle Junior Johnson 9 $453,404
1975 Richard Petty 43 STP Dodge Charger Petty Enterprises 13 $481,751
1974 Richard Petty 43 STP Dodge Charger Petty Enterprises 10 $432,019
1973 Benny Parsons 72 DeWitt Racing Chevrolet Chevelle L.G. DeWitt 1 $182,321
1972 Richard Petty 43 STP Plymouth Satellite Petty Enterprises 8 $339,405
1971 Richard Petty 43 Petty Enterprises/STP Plymouth Satellite Petty Enterprises 21 $351,071

Grand National

Year Driver Car# Sponsor Make Owner Wins Earnings
1970 Bobby Issac 71 K & K Insurance Dodge Charger Nord Krauskopf 11 $199,600
1969 David Pearson 17 Holman-Moody Ford Torino Talladega Holman-Moody 11 $229,760
1968 David Pearson 17 Holman-Moody Ford Torino Holman-Moody 16 $133,065
1967 Richard Petty 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth Satellite Petty Enterprises 27 $150,196
1966 David Pearson 6 Cotton Owens Dodge Charger Cotton Owens 15 $78,194
1965 Ned Jarrett 11 Bondy Long Ford Galaxie Bondy Long 13 $93,624
1964 Richard Petty 43 Petty Enterprises Plymouth Sport Fury Petty Enterprises 9 $114,771
1963 Joe Weatherly 8 Bud Moore Pontiac Bud Moore 3 $74,624
1962 Joe Weatherly 8 Bud Moore Pontiac Bud Moore 9 $70,742
1961 Ned Jarrett 11 W.G. Holloway Jr. Chevrolet Impala W.G. Holloway Jr. 1 $41,056
1960 Rex White 4 Piedmont/Friendly Chevrolet Impala Rex White 6 $57,525
1959 Lee Petty 42 Petty Enterprises Plymouth Petty Enterprises 10 $49,219
1958 Lee Petty 42 Petty Enterprises Oldsmobile Petty Enterprises 7 $26,565
1957 Buck Baker 87 Buck Baker Chevrolet Buck Baker 10 $30,763
1956 Buck Baker 300B Mercury Marine/Mercury Outboards Chrysler 300B Carl Kiekhaefer 14 $34,076
1955 Tim Flock 300 Mercury Marine/Mercury Outboards Chrysler 300 Carl Kiekhaefer 18 $37,780
1954 Lee Petty 42 Lee Petty Chrysler New Yorker Petty Enterprises 7 $21,127
1953 Herb Thomas 92 FABULOUS Hudson Hornet Herb Thomas 11 $28,910
1952 Tim Flock 91 Ted Chester Hudson Hornet Ted Chester 8 $22,890
1951 Herb Thomas 92 FABULOUS Hudson Hornet Herb Thomas 7 $21,025
1950 Bill Rexford 60 Julian Buesink Oldsmobile 88 Julian Buesink 1 $6,175

Strictly Stock

Year Driver Car# Sponsor Make Owner Wins Earnings
1949 Red Byron 22 Parks Novelty Oldsmobile 88 Raymond Parks 2 $5,800

Sprint Cup Tracks

List of Current Sprint Cup Series Tracks
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Hampton, GA
Auto Club Speedway
Fontana, CA
Bristol Motor Speedway
Bluff City, TN
Chicagoland Speedway
Joliet, IL
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
Infineon Raceway
Sonoma, CA
Kansas Speedway
Kansas City, KS
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, NV
Lowe's Motor Speedway
Concord, NC
Martinsville Speedway
Martinsville, VA
Michigan International Speedway
Brooklyn, MI
New Hampshire International Speedway
Loudon, NH
Phoenix International Raceway
Avondale, AZ
Pocono Raceway
Long Pond, PA
Richmond International Raceway
Richmond, VA
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, AL
Texas Motor Speedway
Justin, TX
Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen, NY

Manufacturer History

Make Model Year(s)
Chevrolet Impala (2008- )
Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1995-2007)
Chevrolet Lumina (1989-1994)
Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1979-1988)
Chevrolet Chevelle (1964-1977)
Chevrolet Impala (50's-60's)


Make Model Year(s)
Dodge Charger (2005- )
Dodge Avenger (Tested) (2007)
Dodge Intrepid (2001-2004)
Dodge Charger (1972-1978)
Dodge Charger/Dodge Daytona (1969-1971)
Dodge Coronet (1953-1957)


Make Year(s)
Ford Fusion (2006- )
Ford Taurus (1998-2005)
Ford Thunderbird (1981-1997)
Ford Torino (1968-1971,1975-1980)
Ford Fairlane (1960-1967)
Ford Thunderbird (1959-1963)


Make Year(s)
Pontiac Grand Prix (1977-2003)
Pontiac GTO (1960's-1970's)
Pontiac Cheiftain (1958-1963)


Make Year(s)
Toyota Camry (2008- )

Most Championships Won

4-time champion Jeff Gordon poses with the Winston Cup trophy (used prior to 2004)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Trivia

  • The youngest Winston Cup Champion was Jeff Gordon in 1995, the oldest was Richard Petty in 1979.
  • Benny Parsons, Bill Rexford, and Matt Kenseth are the only series champions to have one single series victory and still win the title.
  • Alan Kulwicki was the last single car owner to win the Series title.
  • The Sprint Cup trophy is gold with two gold-plated checkered flags in flight, it is heavily guarded by the US Army until the final race and in 2005 was delivered by United Parcel Service to Homestead, Fla. (Both organizations sponsor Sprint Cup teams.) The trophy takes approximately a whole year or two to make.
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, New Hampshire International Speedway (in 2001, because a race was postponed till the day after Thanksgiving following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks) and the now defunct Ontario Motor Speedway are the only tracks that have hosted the season finale.
  • The Sprint Cup Awards Banquet is held in Las Vegas at the Wynn.
  • Tony Stewart and Cale Yarborough are the only drivers to finish last in the Daytona 500 and still win the Sprint Cup series title.
  • Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, and Bill Rexford and Herb Thomas are the only teammates to win Sprint Cup Series titles.
  • Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte are the only brothers to win the series championship. During the series ending 1996 Napa 500 at Atlanta, Bobby Labonte won the race, whilst his brother won the title.
  • Richard Petty is the single-season winngest 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

External links

  • Official Sprint Cup Website
  • Jayski
Presidents Brian France Mike Helton Bill France Jr. Bill France Sr.
Series Sprint Cup Nationwide Series Craftsman Truck Series Whelen Modified Tour
Competitors Drivers Teams Crew Chiefs Owners
Other Stuff Tracks 50 Greatest Drivers Manufacturers Seasons
NASCAR Cup Seasons
2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990

This article uses material from the "Sprint Cup Series" article on the The Third Turn wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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