NASCAR Now Smokeless, New Law Prevents Tobacco From Sports Advertising

Mark SchaferContributor IJune 2, 2010

Matt Kenseth celebrates his season-ending points championship   Sunday, November 16, 2003  at the  Winston Cup  Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

NASCAR and tobacco used to go hand and hand, as NASCAR grew-up in the Carolinas where every-year thousands of tobacco plants grow from the semi-tropical soil that is needed for its growth.

For decades NASCAR was thrust into the main stream public with the help of two things, Bill France Jr. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Although NASCAR Hall-of-Famer France Jr. helped bring  NASCAR to audiences nationwide through the use of Television and the media, R.J. Reynolds Company helped sponsor what is now the Sprint Cup Series for 33 years. Without the sponsorship from Winston many of the now famous races may have never have happened. 

The NASCAR Winston Cup era lasted from 1970 to 2003 and gave rise to some of the biggest names in NASCAR. 

In 2003, there were several stories about the future of NASCAR after losing such a long sponsor, but NASCAR survived.

Also surviving the sponsorship were a few tobacco sponsored cars although even before the news was announced that R.J. Reynolds was leaving NASCAR the number of tobacco sponsored cars were dwindling, a few still survived.

That was until the FDA passed a law that forbids cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products from advertising in sports.

As of the last races there were only two remaining tobacco sponsored cars, rather make that one car and one truck.

Greg Biffle drove the No. 27 Red Man sponsored Baker-Curb Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Ron Hornaday drove the No. 33 Longhorn sponsored Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series.

Both companies will have to find new sponsorship for the remaining races, in a tough economy to find sponsors.

While tobacco may no-longer be allowed on the track, it will be hard for NASCAR fans to forget the history that tobacco brought to the track from 1970-2003.