From Valvoline to Interstate Batteries to Kellogg’s, we look at some of the most iconic NASCAR sponsors in the history of the series.
NASCAR’s history has been filled with fantastic paint schemes that even the average fan can immediately associate with a single sponsor. Now, of course, some sponsors come and go, and some sponsors stay for decades. Here is a look back at some of the most iconic sponsors in NASCAR history.
If you missed it, check out part one of our NASCAR Sponsors series.
The most recent winning sponsor on this list, Valvoline has a long history in NASCAR. The best part of that, is they have a long, winning history both on and in the race cars. None more iconic than the red, white, and blue with the big ‘V’ and capital logo of the 80s brought to the forefront of NASCAR competition by Hall of Fame driver Mark Martin in the 90s. Valvoline has supported Petty Enterprises, Roush, and most recently Hendrick Motorsports. William Byron brought Valvoline back to victory lane at Phoenix early in 2023 and the brand has signed a deal to support Hendrick until 2027.
M&Ms Chocolates (MARS Candy)
Mars Snackfood US is without a doubt one of the most Iconic sponsors in the history of the sport. In 1990, the brand sponsored Bobby Hillin Jr’s #8 with Snickers, and in 1999 began the sponsorship that would help the brand live on for over 30 years in the sport. M&Ms chocolates with their fun-colored candies scattered all over the car and bright yellow base made their first appearance on Ernie Irvan’s #36 Pontiac and the company never looked back.
In 2008 the sponsor landed their biggest hit yet, supporting a young Kyle Busch. Busch brought the sponsor to the front of the pack week in and week out and scored the brand an incredible number of wins until their exit at the end of the 2022 season. M&Ms and MARS had such a tremendous status in the sport that their exit factored into the end of the 16-year partnership between Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing.
McDonald’s is yet another major sponsor that has become iconic throughout the history of NASCAR. From the super simple red Thunderbirds of the 90s to the creative schemes seen riding with Wallace and Busch at 23XI Racing. McDonald’s has an interesting history in the sport. The burger giant has been in NASCAR since the early 90s, and almost every single year. They have ridden on the car of fantastic drivers such as Bill Elliott, Jamie McMurray, and Kurt Busch. With all that time, races, and drivers they have only ever seen victory lane three times.
The brand saw Jimmy Spencer bring the #27 McDonald’s Thunderbird to victory lane twice in 1994 for Junior Johnson at Talladega and Daytona. It wouldn’t be until Talladega again in 2021 that the winless streak would be broken. First-year team 23XI Racing and Bubba Wallace would get their first win in the Cup Series carrying McDonald’s to their 3rd sponsored victory.
The brand that brought Joe Gibbs Racing to the big time. Interstate was the first sponsor for the young team’s #18 Chevrolet Lumina back in 1992 for Dale Jarrett. Jarrett brought the sponsor to their first win in NACAR in the 1993 Daytona 500 with the black and green scheme. That scheme would change over the years to eventually become the iconic lightning-covered green race car we all know today.
For 30 straight years, Interstate Batteries has supported Joe Gibbs Racing in Cup as well as the Xfinity Series with drivers such as Ty Gibbs, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, J.J. Yeley, and now all four of the Gibbs Cup cars in 2023. They’ve seen Daytona 500s, Championships, and Kyle Busch’s 200th National Series victory. Interstate Batteries is one of the very few sponsors on this list that is still going strong in this sport.
Kellogg’s brand began sponsorship in NASCAR in 1994 on the #5 Chevrolet of Terry Labonte at Hendrick Motorsports. Tony the tiger and the Corn Flakes rooster became synonymous with the #5 car. They rode along with the elder Labonte brother until he went part-time with Hendrick in 2005. Kellogg then cut much of their sponsorship that year sponsoring Terry’s part-time effort as well as hot new rookie, Kyle Busch. When Busch left the Hendrick stable, Kellogg then pulled back more support of the 5 car with the arrival of Mark Martin in 2009. Martin bid farewell to Hendrick’s Kellogg sponsorship. In doing so, scoring the brand five wins including one as a primary sponsor before Kellogg’s departed Hendrick for Roush. After Roush, Kellogg brands graced a few select cars over the years but nothing of any significance.