NASCAR has changed its participation rules for the 2017 season, limiting the number of races Cup veterans can run in the Xfinity and Truck series.
Under the new rules, Cup drivers with at least five years of experience will be allowed to race in no more than 10 Xfinity races and seven Truck races.
Also, Cup drivers with at least five years of experience won’t be permitted to run in the final eight Xfinity and Truck Chase races (the final regular-season race and the seven Chase races), or in Xfinity Dash 4 Chase races.
Any driver earning Cup points will not be eligible to run in the Xfinity and Truck Chase-finale races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
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Cup drivers competing in the Xfinity and Truck series is nothing new. Critics of the practice say it takes away attention – as well as potential victories and prize money – from regulars on those circuits. Supporters say the Cup drivers help promote the popularity of those lower-tier races. Sponsors also like to see Cup drivers involved in as much competition as possible.
Cup drivers with five-plus years of experience will continue to be able to compete for Xfinity or Truck championships if they declare that before the season.
This season, Cup drivers have won 19 of 29 Xfinity races and four of 19 Truck races.
Kyle Busch, who won the 2015 Cup championship, is perhaps the best example of a driver who has excelled on all three circuits over the years. Busch has 35 career Cup victories and 166 overall in NASCAR, the majority of them coming in Xfinity (85) and Truck (46) races. Busch has won nine of the 16 Xfinity races he has run in this season and two of four Truck races.
“The updated guidelines will elevate the stature of our future stars, while also providing them the opportunity to compete against the best in professional motorsports,” Jim Cassidy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations said in a statement. “These updated guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort involving the entire industry, and will ultimately better showcase the emerging stars of NASCAR.”