The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The series is named for its current sponsor, the Sprint Corporation, and has been known by other names in the past. It was originally known as the Strictly Stock Series and shortly became the Grand National Series. While leasing its naming rights to R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, it was known as the Winston Cup Series. A similar deal was made with NEXTEL in 2003, becoming the NEXTEL Cup Series and it became the Sprint Cup after Sprint acquired NEXTEL in 2005. The name "Sprint" refers specifically to the subsidiary of Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank which is the entitlement sponsor; sprint car racing is a separate racing discipline.
The drivers' champion is determined by a point system where points are given according to finishing placement and laps led. The season is divided into two segments. After the first 26 races, the 10 highest ranked drivers, plus the two drivers with the most race wins of those ranked from 11th through 20th in points, are seeded based on their total number of wins and compete in the last 10 races with the difference in points greatly minimized. This is called the Chase for the Championship.