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.