Tag:Nationwide Series
Posted on: January 11, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:28 pm

Drivers Can Only Run for Title in One Series

Any hope of NASCAR keeping its new policy regarding Sprint Cup drivers and their eligibility to compete for a Nationwide title under wraps are over.

Even though the sanctioning body remains tight-lipped about the plan to enforce drivers to declare for one and only one championship in 2011, wording on this year's competitor license application has confirmed what has been rumored for weeks.

Veteran driver Kenny Wallace told NASCAR.com about the new declaration policy after he received his application to apply for a 2011 license which read:

"A driver will only be permitted to earn driver championship points in one (1) of the following three series: NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Please select the series in which you would like to accumulate driver championship points. Choose one."

NASCAR is still planning to hold a formal competition and rules presentation next week during "Preseason Thunder" testing at Daytona with president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton at which time the official confirmation will come from the sanctioning body.

But Wallace's revelation confirms what other drivers, team owners and crew chiefs have apparently known for weeks.

The execution of the plan will see NASCAR simply not award points to any driver who hasn't declared an intention to run for a particular series championship. The idea would seem to be in response to the domination Sprint Cup regulars have enjoyed in the Nationwide Series, which hasn't seen one of the division's full-time drivers take the crown since Martin Truex Jr. won in 2005.

Had the system been in place last season and assuming Cup regulars Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards declared intention to run only for the Sprint Cup title, fourth place points finisher Justin Allgaier would have won the Nationwide title.

Despite being considered by some as "best in class," most Nationwide regulars are happy with the change and an opportunity to potentially win a championship in NASCAR's number two division.

"I had planned on going out there and beating everyone this year including the Sprint Cup guys if they were able to run for the championship," said Trevor Bayne, who will try to bring Roush Fenway Racing this year's Nationwide trophy. "But I'm not going to consider what I could accomplish any lesser of an accomplishment if I happen to finish behind those guys in the standings, but because of the system am considered the champion. The rules are the same for all of us and hopefully this will give some of the Nationwide-only drivers and teams a chance to shine."

Additional details such as whether bonus points for leading a lap or the most laps will be awarded to those drivers not eligible for the season championship or how the series owners' points will be accumulated are yet to be answered. 

Also to be answered is how the majority of fans will take this latest bit of tweaking to a sport that has undergone more than its share of changes in recent years.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: November 6, 2010 11:33 am

Nationwide News

Even with the closest point battle in the history of the Chase for the Sprint Cup after seven races rolling into Texas Motor Speedway this weekend it's the Nationwide Series that is capturing the most headlines.

CBSSports.com has learned NASCAR is very close to making a decision on what level Sprint Cup regulars will be able to participate in the Nationwide Series next year with a formal announcement said to be one or two weeks away. Speculation is the plan will allow Cup drivers to compete in an unlimited number of Nationwide events but not be eligible for the championship. Drivers planning on competing full-time in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide schedules will need to declare which of the two titles they will compete for in 2011.

The championship parameters appear to have the inside track over limiting the number of Nationwide starts Cup regulars are allowed to make each season, which would hinder teams trying to find sponsors and funding - an easier task with high-profile and established names as a marketing resource. Track operators, many of whom have been adamant about the value of having Cup drivers in Nationwide fields as a means of selling tickets, also would benefit from an unlimited start policy.

Despite the uncertainty of just what the sanctioning body will finally decide, teams have wasted no time in putting their plans in place for 2011 and beyond with a flurry of announcements coming this weekend.'

Turner Motorsports, which after its acquisition of the former Braun Racing organization has gone on an aggressive expansion plan, unveiled its Nationwide line-up on Friday. The team has inked promising Justin Allgaier to headline its roster after the young driver was left on the outside looking in at Penske Racing when sponsor Verizon announced it would leave the team's No. 12 entry at the end of this season. Allgaier will pilot a No. 31 Chevrolet and be joined by Reed Sorenson in a No. 32 Chevy. Two other Turner teams will feature a split driver roster with Jason Leffler and Kasey Kahne dividing duties in the No. 38 entry while Ricky Carmichael and James Buescher will do the bulk of the driving in the team's No. 30 Chevy.

Veteran Elliott Sadler will return to the Nationwide Series in a full-time capacity next season when he drives the potent Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 2 Chevrolet. Sadler, left out after Richard Petty Motorsports decided to shrink its Sprint Cup effort from four to two cars, has driven for Harvick's Nationwide and truck series teams this season.

And Joe Gibbs Racing will expand its Nationwide efforts next year to include a third full-time Toyota for former truck series driver Brian Scott. Two other entries will find Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch splitting time throughout the 2011 campaign.

With the complete roll-out of the next generation Nationwide Series car on tap for the entire 2011 season in addition to the Cup regular policy change and a fresh look for several major teams, things are looking up for the circuit. While Sprint Cup Series ratings have declined this year, Nationwide telecasts have remained steady demonstrating interest in the series.

Now the question is where does the Nationwide Series go from here and what does the future hold?  The events of this weekend are steps in the right direction.

Category: Auto Racing
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