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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NASCAR's Top-35 rule needs to go: Let the fastest cars race

Most of the recent major changes in NASCAR rules are fine by me: Tougher drug testing policy is great, the Chase is awesome, testing ban helps teams save money.

But one has always annoyed me: The top 35 rule.

This rule has been silly since the beginning. Why do the top 35 teams deserve special treatment? The old rules worked fine -- 36 top qualifiers, plus 6 provisionals and a past champion provisional. What was the impetus that made them all of a sudden want to protect the bigger teams from possibly missing a race?

Well now, it appears I may get my wish. Reports indicate that NASCAR will announce very soon that the top-35 rule will be scrapped and the previous system will return.

I'm glad to hear it. The rule never made sense, and no one who defended it to me every seemed to make sense.

I want the fastest cars to race, period. While I understand the economics behind start-and-park cars, they annoy me because they're not going to race. And with the old system, you got a certain number of provisionals, and that was it. After you ran out, you had to make the field on time. It gave urgency to the top teams to do well in qualifying so they didn't use all their provisionals up and chance missing races. With the top-35 rule, they could cost and are guaranteed a spot anyway. That makes no sense to me.

So if this report turns into reality, I say good move NASCAR. Finally you're returning to a system that worked to ensure drivers actually tried their best in qualifying instead of giving them a free cushion to fall onto if they struggled.

It's a little late, but it's a change I, and most rational fans, will welcome.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said that start-and-parks annoy you but how does this help that situation? What the top 35 rule did was ensure that those cars who actually show up to race every week always made the field instead of being out qualified by a start-and-park. If you show up and race the entire race every week you'll probably be in the top 35 of owners points and thus it rewards teams who actually race.

Teams with limited resources now have to focus more on qualifying and less on the race meaning they will be lower in the race making it harder to get decent finishes. Teams that are there to race the full distance have to focus on qualifying set up and race set up while start-and-parks only have to focus on qualifying set up. Start-and-parks can then out qualify these low resource teams who are at least trying to build a program every week and force them to use up provisionals.

This rule change doesn't hurt start-and-parks at all. It hurts the teams trying to build a program and be competitive in the future who occupy spots 30-35 in owners points.

October 3, 2012 at 7:42 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Chase is awesome? Are you for real?

October 3, 2012 at 9:06 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not just come out and put the rule the way they really want it. 35 plus DANICA

October 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

Yes, the Chase is awesome.

Have you not been watching for the past nine years?

October 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM 
Anonymous Slugwriter said...

I hope Nascar dumps the Top 35 rule and replaces it with the "Chase Rule" which is, if you make the Chase in 2012 (or whatever year) then you're in the field for the next season, fall out of the Top 12 (aka The Chase) and it's back to making it back into the filed the old fashioned way: be fast enough. That way there's incentive over and above just the points money for being in the Chase.

I'd also revamp The Chase, but only slightly. In order to gain Chase points once the Chase starts you have to finish in the top 12 of the races in the Chase... and the points scored would be

1st - 12 pts
2nd - 11 pts
3rd - 10 pts
4th - 9 pts,

etc, etc. etc. plus another point for the win and a point for most laps lead by a Chase contender.

October 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM 

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