CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR’s secondary series will have a new name in 2015.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, what’s known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series will become the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
NASCAR announced a 10-year entitlement deal with XFINITY and its parent company, Comcast, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. on Wednesday.
XFINITY will become only the third title sponsor in series history following Anheuser-Busch (26 years) and Nationwide Insurance (seven years). The series began racing in 1982 as the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series.
“This is a brand and a company that is all about innovation, all about delivering something of an experience standpoint in the very space that we want to, which is connecting with our fans,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said.
Comcast Senior Vice President of Marketing Communications Peter Intermaggio said the agreement will benefit the series, Comcast and race fans across the world.
“One thing that’s important to us is live sports,” Intermaggio said. “It’s important to television viewers everywhere. We’re excited to sponsor this sport that people follow with incredible passion and intensity.
“What really made NASCAR stand out for us was the opportunity to partner with NBC Sports (which rejoins NASCAR in 2015) and to bring live sports to the customer. We think that NASCAR will be a tremendous demonstration platform for us. We looked at live sports, technology and the fan base and we said, ‘This is a place we have to be.'”
Five drivers who compete in the series attended the announcement: JR Motorsports’ Regan Smith, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne, Turner Scott Motorsports’ Dylan Kwasniewski and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez.
Smith is one of a select few drivers who have competed in the series when it was the Busch Series and in its current iteration as the Nationwide Series.
“Speaking from a technology standpoint, this is the most natural fit for this series,” Smith said.
“It reaches a demographic of technology-based consumers, whether it’s the young kids, such as the young kids coming up through the series, or the more middle-aged guys such as myself. There are so many things out there to be excited about.”
France said he hopes the partnership will provide NASCAR with fresh ideas on how to make its secondary series more viable in the next decade. A Chase format, similar to what the top-tier Sprint Cup Series has, isn’t out of the question.
“We’re all looking forward to fresh thinking,” France said. “I’m sure there will be format ideas that will come over time that we’ll be interested in looking at. The net of it is, XFINITY and NASCAR want to make this series – the second biggest in the country – bigger and better. However we get there and whatever turns it takes, we’re going to do it together.”
The NASCAR XFINITY Series makes its debut during Daytona Speedweeks on Feb. 21, 2015 at Daytona Int’l Speedway.