NASCAR needs a tech title sponsor after Sprint

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/
The entrance to the Sprint Fanzone at Daytona International Speedway.

By Justin Melillo Staff Reporter February 20, 2016

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—There will be a huge changing of the guard at the end of the NASCAR season. The contract between Sprint and NASCAR will end after 2016. This marks the end of a relationship that began with NEXTEL taking over from Winston back in 2004. There have been rumors about who will take over, but NASCAR has no official word on what the plans are after Sprint leaves. NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps spoke to NBC Sports last week, stating that “We have a number of companies active with us in the search, but nothing to report at this point."

There is a good chance that NASCAR will continue the current trend, and they need to.

NASCAR has evolved tremendously in new technology since Sprint took over as the Cup title sponsor, and even more so since XFINITY came aboard to sponsor the Grand National series, which was formerly sponsored by both Nationwide Insurance and Busch Beer.

Photo by Dante Ricci/
Dale Earnhardt Jr. races his Microsoft Chevrolet during the Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway in August 2015.

Signing another company related to technology could take the sport to an even higher level. That might be exactly what NASCAR wants in order to both attract more fans of the younger demographic, and move NASCAR even further into this digital age in sports.

Last year, Microsoft signed with NASCAR to become the Official Technology Partner of NASCAR. Their operating system, Windows 10, sponsored the summer race at Pocono Raceway, along with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s Chevrolet SS for the same race, and a race the No. 88 ran earlier in the season at Sonoma.

Photo by Brian DeGruchy/
Jeff Gordon uses a tablet in his racecar at Kansas Speedway in October 2015.

Teams can be seen in the garage area utilizing Microsoft tablets, and with the addition of the mandated digital dashboard in 2016, teams and drivers are more immersed in the numbers related to the car than ever before.

There have been rumors that NASCAR wants to have the information found on the Digital Dash readily available to fans. Moving forward with a tech based sponsor could bring that reality closer.

Daytona Rising was a huge project that International Speedway Corp. took on to immerse fans at the track in the race more than even before. Innovations like these might become more common at other tracks if this technological renaissance continues in NASCAR.

Will a technology company become the title sponsor for NASCAR's premiere series in 2017?
Too early to tell