It was announced on Thursday that NASCAR’s top developmental series, which was known as the Camping World East and West series, has signed a seven-year agreement with K&N Engineering Inc. to take over as the title sponsor beginning with the All-Star Showdown in 2010.
Out will go The Camping World Series, and in its place the new name of the series, The NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
“We are thrilled to be the Official Developmental Series Partner and sponsor of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series,” said Steve Rogers, CEO of K&N Engineering.
“Our roots in NASCAR go back to the 1970s, and this feels like a partnership long overdue. After supporting grassroots and professional racing for decades, we love the idea of supporting a developmental series that provides great racing excitement while developing the top tier drivers of tomorrow.”
K&N Engineering, which is based in Riverside, California, employs over 500 people to manufacture high performance reusable cotton gauze filters, as well as intake systems which have been sold to millions of customers for over four decades.
The company, which started as a family owned business, began participating in the NASCAR series by supplying parts for the cup races at the old Riverside Speedway, also located in Riverside, California.
K&N are one of the many sponsors that have been with NASCAR since the grassroots foundation of the sport.
“K&N is a company that epitomizes the spirit of NASCAR,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.
“The developmental series are a tremendously integral part of the past, present, and future of NASCAR—from the great champions throughout the years to the pipeline of tremendous racers that have made their way up the NASCAR ladder to our national series.”
France also added that, “Having a company with the dedication to the sport and the automotive industry that K&N does speaks volumes to the importance we place in the series.”
The series, which dates back to 1954, started as the Winston West Series as a way for the drivers from the West to be able to establish themselves when they could not travel to race in areas such as North Carolina and the rest of the South where stock car racing was first founded.
The Busch North Series, founded in 1987, held their races in the Northeastern United States: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
It wasn’t until 2003 that NASCAR decided to combine the rules from both series and only have one rule book, to make it easier for the drivers who wanted to cross back and forth from series to series.
With one set of rules, NASCAR decided to run the Toyota All-Star Showdown as a prestigious postseason event that has earned the nickname of the “Daytona 500 of short-track racing,” with K&N making its on-track debut as the series title sponsor for 2010.
The race allows the drivers from the two series to run against each other, mostly for bragging rights since this is a non-points race.
NASCAR will still continue to award separate championships in the East and in the West series, along with both series still running on tracks that are one mile or shorter in length, along with two road courses that will still continue to be part of the schedule.
In addition, cost-savings ideas such as the SPEC engine along with composite body, and competition rules such as the double-file restart have further helped to give the series its own identity.
The series has seen its share of short-track legends such as Ray Elder, Jack McCoy, Hershel McGriff, Andy Santerre, Kelly Moore, and Mike Stefanik, along with drivers who have gone on to make their mark in the sport’s highest levels like Kevin Harvick, Ricky Craven, Ron Hornaday Jr., Martin Truex Jr., David Gilliland, and Steve Park.
Most recently, the series has been the stepping stone for the next wave of stars like Joey Logano, Jason Bowles, Ryan Truex, Brian Ickler, Trevor Bayne, and Austin Dillon, along with churning out crew members, crew chiefs, and track and series officials for NASCAR’s three national series.