NASCAR doesn’t need Cup in series name
** EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the original publishing of this article, Monster Energy officially has been named the entitlement sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series, but the new name of the series is yet to be determined.
A Sports Business Daily article referenced by NBC Sports seems to have some NASCAR fans all up in arms. This article reported that at least one of the corporations in the running to be the naming sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series wants to drop the word “Cup” from the series’ moniker. To be quite honest, I can understand why.
The debate over the possible dropping of the word “Cup” began Wednesday morning on “The Morning Drive” show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. One of the hosts of the show talked about the tradition of the word “Cup” in the series name and referred to the possibility of dropping the word as selling off the sports tradition.
Sure the word “Cup” has been a part of the NASCAR premier series name since the early 1970s when R.J. Reynolds signed on to be the series’ first naming sponsor through its Winston brand. And the word has stuck through two more naming sponsors — Nextel and Sprint.
But NASCAR’s tradition didn’t begin with the Sprint Cup. The series existed more than 20 years before Cup showed up in the series name. What about the tradition of the terms “Grand National” and “Strictly Stock?” Those were terms within earlier names of NASCAR’s top series.
If the term “Cup” is dropped from the series, I really don’t think tradition will die with it.
The show co-host — and, frankly, I forgot which one — who was against the possibility of dropping the word “Cup” gave as an excuse the habit of referring to the series as the Cup Series. With that excuse, I think he inadvertently supported a good reason for a potential sponsor’s desire to drop the word.
Considering the millions, millions and millions of dollars the naming sponsor pays to have its name on the top series of the most popular racing sanctioning body in the US, we’re kind of short-changing said sponsor when we simply say, “Cup Series.” Aren’t we. When we say that — and I admit I refer to it as the “Cup Series” quite regularly — we’re omitting the name of the company spending all that money to support the racing we love.
For that reason, I can’t blame a potential sponsor for wanting to drop the crutch of the word “Cup.” With the word dropped and simply naming the series the Company X Series, wouldn’t that pretty much require references to the series to include Company X’s name? Well, I guess you’ll always have stubborn fans still referring to the series as “Winston Cup,” “Nextel Cup,” or “Sprint Cup,” but the people not trying so hard to live in the past would have to use the sponsor’s name as reference.
Think about it, is there any other way to refer to the Xfinity Series other than “Xfinity Series,” unless you use an old sponsors name. But even then, you’re still using a sponsor’s time as reference.
It is very easy to leave Camping World out of the “Camping World Truck Series” name, because of, well, the “Truck Series” describer in the name, but I definitely wouldn’t want to drop “truck” from that name, as it points out what sets that series apart from the other two national series.
Getting back to this whole “Cup”/no-”Cup” debate, have you looked at the championship trophy lately? The trophy hasn’t looked like a cup since Winston’s departure, so isn’t the term “Cup” in the series name inaccurate, anyway? After all, wouldn’t you expect competitors in a “Cup” Series to compete for a “Cup” trophy?