We learned last week that NASCAR is making changes in eligibility to contend for the 2011 series titles. Up to this point, drivers could earn points in any of the top three series and potentially hoist the championship trophy at Homestead for multiple series.
Beginning this season, drivers must mark a box on their license forms declaring which of the top three series in which they want to earn points. Drivers will still be able to compete in multiple series but they can only be the champion of one.
Needless to say, this new policy has sparked a lot of debate among members of the media, drivers and fans. We thought it was time to chime in and give our two cents on the policy.
Here’s what the ladies of Skirts and Scuffs have to say:
Amy McHargue: In theory, the new rule requiring NASCAR drivers to declare championship eligibility for one series is an excellent way to offer more room in the field for less funded and less experienced drivers. This new ruleset is based on the belief that once a driver moves up into the Cup level as a championship competitor he or she will be less likely to be a regular face in the lower series if he or she cannot earn points. In reality, I am not convinced that this will change the trend of Cup drivers like Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski being in the front of the field in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races. Well-funded teams, those already established with multiple years of experience behind the team, have the resources to race competitively in multiple series and do this when confident of a strong finish to further fund the team. In past years, Cup drivers who cross over to Nationwide and Trucks are usually not in enough races to compete for the championship but are in it for the win and for the payout. Ineligibility for points will not change that.
Holly Machuga: I think that NASCAR's new policy makes the Nationwide and Truck races a bit more fair than they were before. However, drivers such as Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch will not have the opportunities that they once had in that they dominated the series they drove in. In short, good for strictly Nationwide/ Camping World Truck drivers, bad for the Sprint Cup drivers.
Paula Thompson: I'm glad NASCAR is doing something about this. I've been bored watching Nationwide the last few years because I feel like I'm watching a Cup race. I understand Brad Keselowski's stance on the sponsors, but there are other talented drivers out there deserving of a shot and of a sponsor. I'm glad they're trying to make the series a "proving ground" instead of a "testing ground."
Whitney Richards: I agree with the new rule change. It's been five or six years since the last time a Nationwide-only driver won the championship. The Camping World Truck Series hasn't had that problem due to not many Cup drivers running that series. But my main point with it all is, even though they have changed the rules, it still won't stop Cup drivers from potentially winning a majority of the Nationwide races like they have over the past few years. The only way Cup-driver dominance could ever end would be for NASCAR to change the rules again from picking one championship to run for to picking one series to run in full-time, and I just don't see that happening anytime soon.
Genevieve Cadorette: I have an opinion about Sprint Cup drivers racing in other divisions. I do believe it's good that they can drive in any division; it gives them a chance to race for the love of the sport; it helps promote Nationwide and Camping World Trucks; it gives the newer drivers a chance to race against a more experienced driver. However, I do think it's a good idea that they can only win in one of the series because if you're experienced enough to race in Sprint Cup, why lower your standards to a win a lower division championship? Why would you want to deny the championship to those who only qualify for one division?
Drivers like Austin Dillon, Jeffrey Earnhardt or even Danica Patrick can't drive in other series, so why should they have to compete for a championship (in the only division they qualify for) with a Sprint Cup driver that does qualify for all three divisions?
The new rule makes sense.
Rebecca Kivak: I like the new rule, but I don't think it's enough. It addresses an issue we’ve seen more in Nationwide than in Trucks, as Sprint Cup regulars have been running full schedules in Nationwide for years now. The last time a Nationwide regular won the series title was back in 2005, so the rule will put the championship back in the Nationwide drivers’ hands, which is a step in the right direction. But I don’t think it’s going to change the Cup drivers’ domination in winning races in Nationwide. Since the Cup drivers won't be going for the title, now the focus is on wins. If you still have Cup drivers running full seasons or close to it, then there's nothing to suggest the Cup drivers won't continue to win a lot of these races. The Cup-affiliated teams have the sponsorship and funds to field the best equipment as well as Cup drivers who have the experience, which will always give them the advantage over Nationwide-only teams and regulars. I think NASCAR needs to go further and limit the number of races Cup drivers can run in Nationwide or the Truck Series. That way, you can still satisfy sponsors and fans, but up-and-coming drivers in those series will have a better chance to develop and get those wins and top 5s.
Now it’s your turn to speak your mind about the rule change. Tell us your opinion in the comments below. Do you think it will hurt NASCAR? Will it hurt the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series in terms of competition or sponsors? What do you see as positive about the changes?