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Three big changes and what they mean for the future of NASCAR

David Scott, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

Lots of news has broken in NASCAR over the past few weeks. Let's put some if into context:

NEW SPONSORSHIP MODEL

The news: NASCAR announced earlier this month it will move away from a single-entity title sponsorship model to have four separate premium sponsors. The four sponsors -- Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, Geico and Xfinity -- take over from Monster Energy, which was the primary sponsor since 2017.

What it means: For starters, Cup race winners won't be followed around by Energy's scantily clad "Monster Girls" any more. More to the point, the sport's top series won't be identified for a single, recognizable sponsor's name as it has been in the past (Winston, Nextel, Sprint). Instead, each of the four new premium sponsors will have their own presence at every Cup race, including the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

What will the top series be called now? The NASCAR Cup Series.

CHANGE FOR TRUEX

 

The news: Martin Truex Jr. gets a new crew chief.

What it means: Truex has been arguably the Cup Series' most consistent driver over the past five seasons, during which he's won 24 races, advanced to the championship round four times and claimed the 2017 championship. Much of that was due to Truex's partnership with crew chief Cole Pearn.

Pearn, however, resigned earlier this month to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with his family. That broke up a driver-crew chief combo that rivaled other recent ultra-successful pairings, including Jimmie Johnson-Chad Knaus, Kyle Busch-Adam Stevens and Kevin Harvick-Rodney Childers.

A good thing doesn't last forever. Johnson and Knaus, for instance, broke up after the 2018 season. And now it's Truex's turn to learn how to work with a new crew chief. James Small, an Australian who was lead engineer for Truex's No. 19 Toyota last season, takes over.

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