When NASCAR hits the track to begin the 2013 season, the cars will look decidedly different – and it's not just the redesigned bodies of the new, manufacturer-specific vehicles.
NASCAR announced a change to the paint schemes of its Sprint Cup Series cars on Saturday, alterations which include the driver's last name on the windshield and the sponsor's name on the roof along with the car number.
"We know that we needed to offer them some additional space, some additional things for sponsors in this day and age, so you're going to see some different areas where the sponsor will be able to put their logo," NASCAR vice president Steve O'Donnell said.
Here's a look at each of the changes and why they were made:
• Driver's last name on the windshield – Much like IROC used to do, NASCAR will try to help fans understand which driver is in the car by putting the name on the windshield. With ever-changing paint schemes, some fans might not be able to simply look at the car and know who's in it (especially newer fans who don't know all the car numbers yet).
• Sponsor's name on the roof – NASCAR is trying to give sponsors more value for their dollar. For the first time, a single sponsor logo will be permitted on the roof under the car number (which has long been in that spot).
• Sponsor decals get more space on the side of the car – Similar to the reasoning above, NASCAR will allow teams to extend sponsor logos past the B-post of the car toward the number.
• Headlights and taillights cleared of logos – Since NASCAR is trying to enhance manufacturer identity and really display how much more the G-6 car will look like a street model Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry, car numbers will no longer appear on the headlights and taillights. The car numbers will be moved down to the bumpers instead, clearing the headlights of clutter. Also, a team logo will now be permitted below one of the headlights.
• Background patterns now allowed – Teams can now put "step and repeat" patterns on the sides of the car. Again, that's just more value if a sponsor wants to try something cool.
• Car number shrinks – The car is smaller, so the car number will be reduced by 10 percent. Contingency decals will shrink a little bit, too.
For those of you who are visual learners, here are some graphics illustrating the changes: