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10 of the Most Iconic NASCAR Sponsors

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Josh Mull

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By Dustin Albino

Corporate sponsorship is the engine that drives every type of auto racing. Since NASCAR’s debut as a sanctioning body in 1948, there have been countless exemplary companies that have financially supported its competitors and series.

Whether on painted on a race car or supporting the sport in other ways, fans have long had a unique relationship with corporate sponsors. In fact, many will solely purchase products from a company because it sponsors their favorite driver’s car.

STP

Dating back five decades, oil additive STP has had a constant presence in NASCAR racing; starting with Fred Lorenzen in 1971. The Petty-blue-and-fluorescent-red colors eventually became symbolic with Richard Petty, who captured four of his record-tying seven Cup Series championships while sponsored by STP (1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979). STP still has relevance in the sport, last sponsoring Erik Jones in 2021.

GM Goodwrench

Speaking of sponsors that have won plenty of championships, it’s worth bringing up GM Goodwrench. Synonymous with Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, the famed No. 3 car won four titles and 45 races in Goodwrench colors before Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick then sported the Goodwrench colors and won in his third career Cup Series start. If you visit a track this season, you are guaranteed to see black GM Goodwrench apparel.

Lowe’s

Then there’s Lowe’s, which was Jimmie Johnson’s primary sponsor for 17 years. In that time, the No. 48 team also won seven championships, including five in a row (2006-2010), making the home improvement chain the primary sponsor to win the most titles in NASCAR history.

Winston

While the Cup Series doesn’t presently have a title sponsor (it has four premier partners), Winston cigarettes took its activation to the next level when the R.J. Reynolds brand sponsored the series from 1971 to 2003. Winston was the first non-automotive company to sponsor NASCAR racing a full-time basis. To honor that era of the sport, there’s a Winston Cup Museum in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Goodyear

In order to make efficient time around the track and help keep the drivers safe, the NASCAR Cup Series has relied on Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. for nearly seven decades (1954) as the “Official Tire of NASCAR.” As NASCAR has become more innovative, so too has Goodyear. In 1972, the company introduced the racing slick, radial tires debuted in 1989 and multi-zone tread arrived in 2013. With the Next Gen car being introduced in 2022, Goodyear had the challenge of making an 18-inch racing tire, though it’s been delivering a similar product to consumers for years.

Coca-Cola

As far back as 1970, Coca-Cola has had a presence in NASCAR. Don Tarr was the first Coke driver before it sponsored Bobby Allison – in a car owned by Junior Johnson – later that decade. Coca-Cola branched into race sponsorship in the 1980s for the spring race at Atlanta and then took over the naming rights of the series’ longest race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day Weekend in 1985. It’s a tradition that continues nearly four decades later, with the beverage occasionally being on cars, too.

DuPont/Axalta

When DuPont entered the sport in 1992, it was during a changing of the guard. Not only was it Richard Petty’s last race, but it was Jeff Gordon’s first race, in what turned out to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame career. The Wonder Boy won a career-high 13 races in 1998, along with four championships between 1995 and 2001. The rainbow warrior paint scheme is regarded as one of the most eye-catching in NASCAR history. DuPont’s flamed scheme that began in 2001, isn’t bad either. Now rebranded as Axalta, the company is still sponsoring Hendrick Motorsports.

M&M’s

Race fans can’t go wrong with a bag of M&M’s, and prior to cutting ties with Joe Gibbs Racing after the 2022 season, M&M’s had been a focal sponsor in NASCAR since the late 1990s. Mars Wrigley used its activation to attract a younger demographic and it worked. For 15 years, Kyle Busch was the face of M&M’s, while other drivers, such as Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader and Ernie Irvan, also had success driving the bright yellow machine.

Anheuser-Busch

Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch used its products to attract the 21-plus demographic. Never did the company promote two of its brands on a race car at the same time, though Busch Beer and Budweiser have had long stints in the sport. In what is now the Xfinity Series, Anheuser-Busch previously sponsored the series dating back to the 1980s. First, it was named the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series before becoming the Busch Grand National Series through 2002. Then, NASCAR’s secondary series was the Busch Series from 2003 to 2007. Anheuser-Busch has also had prominent drivers rep its different beverages, including Terry Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne.

Interstate Batteries

Since Joe Gibbs Racing first hit the track in 1992, Norm Miller’s Interstate Batteries company has supported the team. Dale Jarrett gave the team its first win in the 1993 Daytona 500, while Bobby Labonte earned JGR’s first championship in 2000 in the bright green Interstate colors. 2023 marks the sponsor’s 32nd season with JGR.

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Josh Mull

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