CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Monster Energy will remain the title sponsor of NASCAR’s top Cup Series through 2019 in an extension announced Tuesday.
Monster is not expected to be back after next year as NASCAR will re-evaluate how it sells its sponsorship. The Monster contract with NASCAR is estimated to be worth $20 million annually.
The energy drink company signed a two-year deal in late 2016. The initial contract was an instant success for Monster, which saw Kurt Busch drive a car sponsored by Monster Energy to victory in the Daytona 500.
The brand is a strong fit for NASCAR as the series tries to energize its fan base and appeal to a younger demographic.
Other NASCAR news:
NASCAR docks Elliott, suspends
crew chief for 2 races
NASCAR has suspended Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Alan Gustafson for two races after Chase Elliott’s car was found to have an illegal rear window during the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend.
Elliott was docked 20 points, and Gustafson was fined $50,000. The 20-point penalty drops Elliott from 15th to 18th in the Cup standings.
Hendrick Motorsports says in a statement it won’t appeal the penalty. Kenny Francis, a former crew chief for Kasey Kahne, will serve as Elliott’s crew chief for the next two races, in Bristol and Richmond.
Hendrick Motorsports attributed the violation to an “unintentional support bracket failure” on the No. 9 Chevrolet. Elliott finished 11th on Sunday.
It’s the second penalty for Elliott’s team this year. He was docked 25 points and saw his car chief suspended for two races following a suspension violation last month.
NASCAR using restrictor plates
in All-Star race at Charlotte
NASCAR will test a different aerodynamic package in next month’s All-Star race in which the cars will have restrictor plates at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The plates are used to choke horsepower and slow speeds, and they are used at Daytona and Talladega, the two biggest and fastest tracks on the schedule.
The aero package that will be used in the May 19 All-Star race is the same that NASCAR tried in the Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year. That race saw record numbers in leaders, lead changes and green flag passes for the lead.
To replicate that for the All-Star race, each car will be fitted with aero ducts, a 6-inch-high spoiler with two 12-inch ears, a restrictor plate and the 2014 style splitter.
The format for the $1 million exhibition is four stages — 30 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and a final 10 lap shootout for the grand prize. Only green flag laps will be counted in the final stage.