The end of an era came today. There is no longer a NASCAR Winston Cup Series. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company pulled out as the series sponsor earlier this year, to be replaced by Nextel. Today was the final race of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, a sponsorship that has lasted since 1971. Starting with the 2004 season, it’ll be called the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
All I can say is, it’s about time. This is a giant step forward for NASCAR, shedding one of the last remaining major TV advertising opportunities for tobacco companies. This can only add respectability to an already growing sport that is quickly losing its backwater stereotype.