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.