Since the time that numbers on the race transitioned from paint to plastic, decals have had a variety of purposes on stock cars.
While numbers have always had a dominant home on the doors – and on the roof in recent years in order to identify the cars better in the stands – the remaining real estate on the body has been up for grabs by the highest bidder.
With the introduction of the Generation 6 model in the Sprint Cup Series this season, NASCAR opted to use that opportunity to bring greater driver and manufacturer recognition.
When the Gen-6 Cup cars debut at Daytona International Speedway for Speedweeks on Feb. 15, fans will see both the name of the driver and the manufacturer gracing the top of the windshield. The driver’s name will be centered and in capital letters – similar to the International Race of Champions Series' cars of old.
While the additional manufacturer logos weren’t introduced as part of the announcement at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17, NASCAR has since decided to allow the cars’ marks, such as Ford’s blue oval, Chevrolet’s bow-tie or the Toyota bug, to flank the driver’s name front and center atop the front windshield.
“It’s very important for Ford and all of the manufacturers,” said Tim Duerr, motorsports marketing manager, Ford Racing. “With NASCAR working hand in hand with us to create a race car that more closely resembles what's sold in the dealerships, this is another step which helps tie our drivers closer to the brand.”
Moving forward, there will be no sponsor logos or number decals on the head and tail lights to maintain the integrity of the car’s character. In the new models, there are actually indentations true to what dealers sell on the showroom floor. Numbers will now be placed on the passenger-side bumpers, just below the lights.
The car model names, Chevy SS, Fusion and Camry will be centered on the front bumper with the corresponding manufacturer on each of the back bumpers.
Since the new car is slightly smaller, however, the numbers have been reduced by 10 percent.
NASCAR will also allow a single sponsor logo on the roof under the number and along the quarterpanel to extend past the B-post or the vertical pillar behind the driver’s seat.
“These changes are an extension of the unprecedented collaboration with the auto manufacturers on the 2013 car, great industry feedback and our focus on increasing fan affinity as part of NASCAR’s Industry Action Plan,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations.