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USA Insider Race for the Championship

The NASCAR Cup Series Explained: What's The Competition In The 'Race For The Championship'?

The NASCAR Cup Series is one of the biggest accolades in motorsports. Find out what it means for the drivers. 

By Tyler McCarthy
Nascar Team prepping a racecar

The new USA Network series “Race For The Championship” shows the 2022 crop of NASCAR racers vying for their chance to win motorsports’ biggest prize: the NASCAR Cup Series. However, with so much hype surrounding the season and the drivers working so hard to win it, some may be wondering what becoming the champion actually means.

How to Watch

Catch up on past episodes of Race For The Championship on Peacock

In short, a victory in the NASCAR Cup Series amounts to bragging rights. While there is indeed prize money at stake, Autoweek notes the system by which it’s paid out is quite convoluted and doesn’t directly impact the driver’s wallet as much as one would think. However, winning a championship title not only makes you the top driver for a whole year, but it upgrades a driver’s career status. Being able to say you’ve won the NASCAR Cup Series carries weight that you can swing in all business and contract negotiations going forward. 

A championship win also solidifies a racer’s place in NASCAR history. Although it’s only been called the NASCAR Cup Series since 2020, the championship itself has been around under various names since 1949. Originally, it was called the Strictly Stock Division, then it became the Grand National Series for 20 years. It spent another 15 years under the title of the Winston Cup, which many may remember since the sport really took off in the public eye between 1986 and 2003. It spent a few years as the Nextel Cup then the Sprint Cup and, finally, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series before a new agreement with sponsorships was inked and it adopted the much cleaner title: NASCAR Cup Series. 

A handful of the drivers participating in “Race For The Championship” have already earned themselves a spot on this historic winner’s list such as Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Brad Keselowski. Meanwhile, the 2022 season marks a chance for drivers like Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suárez, Ross Chastain, Corey LaJoie, Austin Dillon, and more to get their first championship win. 

Will a new champion emerge this season, or will a previous winner add another accolade to his pile? Fans will just have to tune into “Race For The Championship” on USA Network to find out.

Meanwhile, you can catch more NASCAR content on Peacock now.