NASCAR has officially renamed its top-level competition to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The organization announced the news on its Twitter account:
A new era. The @MonsterEnergy NASCAR Cup Series is coming in 2017: https://t.co/9L2GGvF7kE https://t.co/ZEUiBpyFnP2016-12-19 21:05:07
Monster Energy was named the newest sponsor for the premier series Dec. 1, replacing Sprint, which had been a part of the racing competition since 2005.
In addition to the rebranding of the name, NASCAR has also tweaked the logo it has had since 1976:
Our roots deepen. Our ride continues. https://t.co/i8pxfqUJJU2016-12-19 21:00:12
NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jill Gregory broke down the purpose of the changes, per an official release:
Our new NASCAR mark is modern, timeless, and embraces the heritage of our sport. It was important for us to recognize our history and implement a piece of each previous mark in the new design. Our goal was to evolve the sport's visual identity to make it concise, relevant and functional, while respecting and maintaining the unique qualities of the original mark.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one fan of the changes:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. @DaleJr
.@NASCAR cleans up its current logo and reveals the logo and official name of its premier series. I'm good with it. Ready for Speedweeks.2016-12-19 21:09:04
The link to the past comes at a good time in the series. Jimmie Johnson won his seventh career title in 2016, tying him with legends Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most all time.
On the other hand, ratings have been down compared to previous years. The recent deal with Monster Energy also showed a decline in popularity. As Darren Rovell of ESPN noted at the time, the latest agreement was worth 2.5 times less than the previous deal with Sprint.
A few changes won't bring all the fans back, but it is a good place to start.