The most prominent change is drivers' last names will appear on the front windshield of the cars. Sponsor logos will be allowed on the roof for the first time, as well some other smaller changes.
Asked if the changes were part of a broader effort to provide a greater platform for sponsors in the sport, NASCAR Chairman Brian France talked about the difficulties the sport has faced with a struggling economy and changes to advertising budgets of companies.
"Well, we have traditional things that you would think we would have at our disposal, making the space available differently and smarter on the car. That's one thing. There's being ever mindful of the cost issue being another. But we're not going to be in a position to change the economy, how just about every company is being much more judicious and careful with their advertising expense, no matter how well they work," France said. "They're not in a position as they were a few years ago to make big bets out over long periods of time at the level that they were. It's understandable.
"And then you throw in from an economy standpoint that our fans, the best in the world, drive the furthest, they stay the longest, they often as you guys know build their race weekends around family vacations and all kinds of things. Well, the cost to do that and the unemployment, when you don't have a job and the costs are still going up, it isn't hard to understand why we will be in a little bit different position. So we're working on all those things, and we're doing everything we can. Things will get better on that, and they have gotten better in some areas.
"We've put a lot of new companies into the sport. We'll always have some attrition, too, so a lot of these companies are starting to get early good results, like 5‑hour Energy drink being one, and there are a number of companies that we have. But we're more reliant, there's no doubt about that, on corporate sponsorship."