Contingency means many different things. Some definitions include “a future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty,” “a provision for an unforeseen event or circumstance,” “an incidental expense,” or “the absence of certainty in events.” When it comes to NASCAR however, contingency has a very specific meaning. The group of small decals in front of the door number on stock cars are refereed to as “Contingency sponsorship.”
Aside from the series logo, and pole decal, many of these small decals are from companies that made equipment used in cars, or used by the team. Some may include sponsors that aren’t paying enough to qualify as an associate sponsor, which earns a much bigger decal on the rear of the car. For many years, there was little, if any thought given to the layout of the decals. For example, here is a contingency panel from Steve Park in 1997.Here is one from Bobby Hamilton during his time in 1999.As can be seen, decals are covering other decals, there seems to be no thought given to appearance in this respect. The decals appear to be sent wherever there is room. Interestingly, I have found that while this was somewhat forced, at least they were consistent.
In more recent years, teams have become very conscious of contingency decal placement. These are some more recent car sides, and as you can see, decal placement is very clean and the setups are more thought out. This transfers over to the die cast models. This is an example of a Carl Edwards model, vs a picture of the real thing.
These small decals are a big business. Many fans will put them on their cars and tool boxes. They can be found on eBay. They are also seen on many other racing categories. But since body panels don’t hit the collector market, or the decals are on the chassis in some instances, they don’t often get bought by collectors.
Next week, I will show my collections of pit crew shirts.