By Shaun Burke
In the release by NASCAR’s CEO Brian France, anytime the series is schedule to have a “double header” and there is “a substantial amount of empty seats” for the cup race, the Nationwide and Cup Series will be combined. “This will allow tracks who are having trouble selling seats have a better shot at a sellout” said France “It’s not a mystery that NASCAR has two major issues: Cup drivers racing in the Nationwide series and empty seats in the grandstands. Mult-class racing is the final solution to combat both these issues.”
Plans are for tracks to release official ticket sales to NASCAR a week prior to the race weekend. If NASCAR feels the race will have a substantial amount of empty seats, they will announce a combined race. Any driver who is currently running both series will elect which series they want to race. The owner will then have the option of filling the other car with a replacement driver. The field will still consist of a maximum of 43 cars. “Currently the NASCAR Sprint Cup series has about 25 competitive cars and the Nationwide about 20.” Says NASCAR Competition director, John Darby “In the end, we will have a more competitive race while not increase nor decreasing the field size.”
Each race will have two winners and two victory lane celebration. If the overall race winner is a Nationwide series driver, that driver will be credited with a Nationwide and a Cup win in the records book. Kyle Busch plans to compete in the “combined races” in his #18 Nationwide series ride. “I think everyone knows that I’m trying to win 200 NASCAR races.” Says Busch, “I feel like my Nationwide cars are as fast or faster than my Cup car many weekends. By running the Nationwide car on combined race weekends, I’ll be able to double my win totals and break Richard Petty’s 200 win number at a quicker rate”
Not all drivers felt the same as Kyle Busch. “I raced in the nationwide series for a few years but I don’t feel safe competing against some of those drivers” says Jimmie Johnson, “I compete in the Cup Series against Cup drivers because I know these guys and what they are capable of. If I am racing against Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt Jr., I know what to expect and how they will race me. I can’t say that about a guy like Steve Wallace or Jason Leffler.”
As for the 40-45 drivers that show up at these races and miss the show, there will be a race run on Saturday that will feature all these drivers. Championship points will be awarded at a rate of half what they would usually get and wins will not count in the NASCAR record book. “These guys drove all the way from their shop and should get a chance to compete,” says France, “It’s not fair to send them home empty handed. In NASCAR, we believe everyone should have a chance at racing.”
One final note: Please remember that about half what you read on the internet is false except for one day a year. On that day, nothing is false. Released on April 1 of every year certainly carry the most weight.
Happy April Fool’s day!