It's held a number of sponsor names over the years, but beginning in 2017 NASCAR's top racing series may be known as the Monster Energy Cup Series.  NASCAR on Thursday announced a multi-year partnership with Monster Energy to take over the sponsorship of racing's premier series replacing Sprint whose sponsorship contract will end on December 31st.

NASCAR executive vice president Steve Phelps said they chose Monster Energy for a number of reasons, especially its lifestyle culture.  "We have the good fortune of finding a brand that we believe works for our sport....They're going to bring their brand, their excitement, their energy to this partnership, and the fans are going to be the winners.

Under the agreement energy drink sponsors already involved in NASCAR may continue their sponsorships.  Any others in the category not already involved in racing will not be  eligible.

Up until 1970 Cup racing was known simply as the Grand National Series.  R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company sponsored the series from 1971 to 2003 under the name Winston Cup.  Nextel took over naming rights from 2004 thru 2007 and when Nextel was acquired by Sprint, the series name was changed to the Sprint Cup.

Exactly what the series will be known as and the name of the championship trophy are details that still have to be worked out. Those items are expected to be worked out in the next few weeks.