Explaining the difference in sponsors

January 05, 2015, NASCAR.com

Level of sponsorship determines placement on car

When you are watching a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race or any NASCAR race for that matter, the cars driven by the drivers in a particular series are full of different logos and decals for companies and organizations that sponsor the driver.

But what about the placement of those? Does it matter? And are there different levels to determine the placement of a sponsor on a NASCAR series vehicle?

First, let’s deal with the cost. According to Adweek, a primary sponsorship in 2013 cost anywhere from $5 million to $35 million. In 2013, an associate sponsorship cost anywhere from $250,000 to $2 million, according to Adweek.

And what does each of these levels get you?

A primary sponsorship typically includes five placements: The hood of the car, the rear-quarter panel, the deck lid, the TV panel and the roof panel. The lower rear-quarter panel is reserved if a team has alternating primary sponsors. For example, Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet is always sponsored by Lowe’s and/or Kobalt Tools. Typically, the primary sponsor also gets to choose the car’s paint scheme and team colors.

An associate sponsorship includes a decal in one of three locations: the lower front-quarter panel, the B-post (area next to the driver’s shoulder) or the C-post (located next to the rear window on both sides of the car). The quarter panel spot is usually the most expensive spot for an associate sponsor, then the C-post and then the B-post. Typically, associate sponsors are the decals that are on the fenders and near the windows.

Other logos on the car are sometimes part of the “in-kind” tradition, meaning someone does something for the race team and in return they get a logo on the car.

 Besides sponsoring a driver, there is also corporate sponsorship of a race or event. For example, Bank of America is the sponsor of the Chase race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bojangles is the sponsor of the Cup qualifying night for that race.

Corporations can also sponsor a race, which includes several perks such as venue signage, sponsor logos on tickets and race programs, hospitality tents, VIP tickets, pace car rides, pit tours and passes, access to the drivers’ meetings and Winner’s Circle and more.

Each series has an entitlement sponsor: for the Sprint Cup Series, it's Sprint; for the XFINITY Series, it's XFINITY (Comcast's residential service brand) and for the Camping World Truck Series, it's Camping World. These partners sign contracts to be the entitlement sponsor for a length of time.

NASCAR also has official sponsors such as Bank of America (the official bank), Chevrolet (official partner), Coca-Cola (the official soft drink, sport drink, energy drink and non-alcoholic beverage), Coors Light (the official beer), Ford (official partner), Goodyear (official tire), Mobil 1 (official partner), Nationwide (official insurance provider), Sprint (official series sponsor), SUNOCO (the official fuel), Toyota (an official passenger car), UPS (official delivery service) and VISA (official card) to name a few.

To see the full list of official sponsors for NASCAR, click here.