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NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Known for its passionate fan base, one-of-a-kind playoff format (Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup), development of the modern sports sponsorship and commitment to enhancing auto racing through technology, NASCAR produces many of the most highly attended sporting events in the world.

NASCAR did not gain the success or popularity it has today overnight. The sport has evolved to entertain its fans and continuously prosper.

In 2003, NASCAR made two major announcements to help the dawn of the new era become even clearer. NASCAR announced in June that Nextel would become the new series sponsor in 2004, replacing R.J. Reynolds' Winston brand after 33 years. Three months later in September, Brian Z. France was named as NASCAR's CEO and Chairman of the Board replacing his father, Bill France.

A steady parade of changes has followed. The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup was announced at the start of 2004, ushering in a new format to determine the champion of NASCAR's premier series. In 2006, Toyota announced a move into all three of NASCAR's national series.

In 2007 it was announced that the premier series' name would be changed to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2008. In addition, Nationwide Insurance was announced as the replacement for Anheuser-Busch as main sponsor of NASCAR's series born from Late Models in 1982.

The 2007 season also marked the beginning of NASCAR's new car in premier series competition, a car designed to be safer than ever while also reducing costs to compete -- all the while enhancing the racing itself. The new car could not slow down Jimmie Johnson who captured a record five consecutive championships from 2006-2010, becoming only the second driver to win three consecutive titles (Cale Yarborough 1976-1978).

During the late 2000s, NASCAR began further expanding by creating series internationally. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR Toyota Series (Mexico) launched their inaugural seasons in 2007. The sanctioning body extended its reach across the Atlantic when it founded the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2012. Today, NASCAR runs three national series, four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series.

In 2013, NASCAR continued enhance its racing, debuting its Gen-6 car that enhanced body designs to better resemble the cars found in showrooms across the United States and improve on-track performance. NASCAR also secured its television rights through 2024 by agreeing to a 10-year rights deal with NBC Universal and an eight-year rights extension with FOX.

To emphasize winning races, NASCAR created a new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff format for 2014 and unveiled its new grid format for advancing drivers.

NASCAR.COM is operated by NASCAR Digital Media, LLC on behalf of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.

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