Several years ago, the subject of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers competing in NASCAR Xfinity Series races was a subject that was practically beaten into the ground, so to speak. That talk seemed to die down somewhat when NASCAR passed its “declare a series” rule that prohibited drivers like Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski from competing in championships in two series. The rule completely took Edwards out of NASCAR’s second-tier series and resulted in the others scaling back to part-time schedules.
Talk of limiting or eliminating Cup drivers in the Xfinity Series seems to be heating up again, courtesy of a questionnaire sent to NASCAR’s Fan Council leaking out to the media. The questionnaire questioned Council members on a Chase format from the Xfinity Series that would eliminate Cup drivers in the Xfinity Series. Here’s my take, at least when it comes to the Cup driver elimination subject:
I don’t think it’s a good idea to completely eliminate Cup drivers from the Xfinity Series. Like it or not, the Sprint Cup Series stars are a draw for Xfinity Series races. Granted, there are Xfinity Series purists who love to see the series regulars, young up-and comers if you will, get a starring role to showcase their skills. I’m one of those people. But I can also face the reality that attendance is up for Xfinity Series races when there are a few Sprint Cup names on Xfinity entry lists. Here’s an equation for you: increased attendance = increased revenu = increased race purses = healthier series.
I don’t want to see Xfinity race fields overcrowded by Sprint Cup drivers, and I don’t want to see a season where few races are won by series regulars.
I do think the “declare a series” rule has helped put focus on Xfinity Series regulars, at least somewhat. Even if Cup regulars are going to victory lane, there’s the championship battle to focus on, and that’s all about series regulars. At least that’s all about Xfinity-only drivers, now.
Maybe there should be a limit on the number of Cup drivers in the field for any given Xfinity Series race. For example’s sake, lets say three. If more than three Cup championship-eligible drivers are entered for a given race, only awards starting spots to the fastest of the three in qualifying. But, don’t sacrifice a full race field to do so. If more Cup drivers have to be let in to make a full field, so be it. But as long as there are enought Xfinity regulars entered, limit Cup entrants to no more than three.
Also, put Sprint Cup drivers at a disadvantage. Start them in the back in positions 38-40.
I think NASCAR went a long way in putting a spotlight on Xfinity Series regulars with its “delare a series” rule. Does more need to be done? I’m not sure. If so, don’t take the Cup drivers out of the series, completely. I’m afraid the survival of the series may depend on them a little too much for that. There have always been Cup drivers, here and there, competing in the second series. Call it a fear of the unknown, by the idea of taking Cup completely out of Xfinity kind of scares me a little.
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