Monster Energy Drink is a finalist to become the new entitlement sponsor for NASCAR’s premier Cup series, Motorsport.com has learned.
While other companies remain in contention, Monster is in an advanced stage of negotiations with NASCAR to replace Sprint, multiple sources confirmed.
As recently as last month, NASCAR Chairman Brian France said the search for a replacement for Sprint remained “on schedule.”
There were no details immediately available on the financial aspect of the negotiations. NASCAR officials declined to comment on any negotiations with Monster.
A request for comment from officials with Monster was not immediately returned.
The new sponsor would be just the fourth since 1971, when R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. began its 33-year sponsorship of the top series through its Winston cigarette brand. RJR ended its NASCAR sponsorship following the 2003 season, in part because of the tobacco settlement.
Monster is no stranger to sponsorship in NASCAR.
Monster has served as a the primary sponsor on driver Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Cup car at Stewart-Haas Racing since 2015 and it served as a sponsor for his younger brother, Kyle Busch, in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series prior to its move to the Cup series.
Should Monster emerge as the new Cup sponsor, its decision is not expected to have an immediate impact on Busch’s No. 41 sponsorship, sources confirmed to Motorsport.com.
Monster Corporation is an American beverage company, owned by Coca-Cola, and based in Corona, Calif. As of May 2015, Monster held nearly 39 percent of the U.S. energy drink market.
Coca-Cola has been involved with stock car racing for more than 50 years and is the official non-alcoholic, soft drink, sport drink and energy drink of NASCAR.
In addition, the Coca-Cola 600, held annually at Charlotte Motor Speedway, is the longest continuous sponsorship of any race in NASCAR. The July Fourth weekend at Daytona International Speedway has been sponsored by Coca-Cola since 2008.
Sprint announced in December 2014 that it would conclude its 13-year reign as title sponsor of the Cup series following the conclusion of the 2016 season.
In July, Forbes reported Sprint was spending between $50 million and $75 million annually to be the Cup series entitlement sponsor.