Answers about new NASCAR rule limiting Cup drivers in other series

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NASCAR announced Wednesday that it will limit how many Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races Sprint Cup drivers can run beginning in 2017.

Here is a breakdown of the rule and what it means.

WHAT IS THE RULE?

NASCAR states that any Sprint Cup driver with more than five years full-time experience can compete in a maximum of 10 Xfinity and seven Camping World Truck Series races in 2017.

NASCAR announced that any Sprint Cup driver with more than five years full-time experience will be prohibited from competing in the final eight Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races next year. That’s the regular-season finale for both and the seven-race Chase for each series.

NASCAR also stated that any Sprint Cup driver with more than five years full-time experience will not be allowed to compete in the Xfinity Dash for Cash races next year.

Drivers earning Cup points in 2017 also are not eligible to compete in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series title races in 2017 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

HOW IS FULL-TIME CUP EXPERIENCE DEFINED?

A driver who has attempted to qualify for every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in a given season is considered to be a full-time driver in that series.

Thus, former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, who has made 126 career Cup starts, is not impacted by this rule because this is only his second full-time season in Cup.

Also, Landon Cassill would not face these restrictions. Cassill, who has 219 Cup starts, ran full seasons in 2014 (failed to qualify for two races), 2015 and is set run the full season this year. He ran 33 of 36 races in 2013 but was not entered in the other three events, thus did not make a qualifying attempt. He ran 32 of 36 events in 2011 but was not entered in the other four races and did not make a qualifying attempt.

WAIT A MINUTE. WHAT ABOUT A DRIVER LIKE Elliott Sadler, WHO HAS RUN MORE THAN FIVE YEARS IN CUP? DOES THIS IMPACT HIM?

No, it won’t because he will declare to run for the points in the Xfinity Series next year with JR Motorsports. The rule about more than five full-time Cup seasons impacts those drivers declaring points for the Cup Series.

HOW MANY XFINITY DASH FOR CASH RACES WILL THERE BE IN 2017?

NASCAR has yet to say. There were four such races this year — Bristol in April, Richmond in April, Dover in May and Indianapolis in July.

SO WHAT RACES WILL SPRINT CUP DRIVERS WITH MORE THAN FIVE YEARS OF FULL-TIME EXPERIENCE BE BARRED FROM IN 2017?

The final eight Xfinity races. That’s the regular-season finale and the seven Chase races.

Those races will be Chicagoland (Sept. 16), Kentucky (Sept. 23), Dover (Sept. 30), Charlotte (Oct. 6), Kansas (Oct. 21), Texas (Nov. 4), Phoenix (Nov. 11) and Homestead (Nov. 11).

In the Truck Series, those eight races will be Chicagoland (Sept. 15), New Hampshire (Sept. 23), Las Vegas (Sept. 30), Talladega (Oct. 14), Martinsville (Oct. 28), Texas (Nov. 3), Phoenix (Nov. 10) and Homestead (Nov. 17).

WHO ARE THE CUP DRIVERS COMPETING IN 2016 WHO WILL NOT HAVE MORE THAN FIVE YEARS FULL-TIME EXPERIENCE IN 2017 AND NOT FACE THESE RESTRICTIONS NEXT  YEAR (EXCEPT THE RESTRICTION OF NOT COMPETING IN THE XFINITY AND TRUCK FINALES IF THEY SCORE CUP POINTS)?

Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Danica Patrick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, Trevor Bayne, Landon Cassill, Brian Scott, Michael McDowell, Michael Annett, Matt DiBenedetto, Alex Bowman, Josh Wise, Cole Whitt, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Reed Sorenson and Ty Dillon. Erik Jones, who will be a rookie next season, will not face these restrictions in 2017.

HOW MANY XFINITY RACES HAVE BEEN WON BY CUP DRIVERS THIS YEAR?

Cup drivers have won 19 of 30 Xfinity races this year — 63.3 percent. Three races remain in the Xfinity season.

The breakdown: Kyle Busch (9 wins), Austin Dillon (2), Joey Logano (2), Chase Elliott (1), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1), Denny Hamlin (1), Kyle Larson (1), Aric Almirola (1) and Michael McDowell (1).

Based on the new rule, only Dillon, Elliott, Larson and McDowell of the group above will be eligible to compete in Xfinity next year without restrictions.

HOW MANY XFINITY RACES HAVE BEEN WON BY CUP REGULARS SINCE 2011?

Since 2011, Cup regulars have won 138 of 196 Xfinity races (70.4 percent)

— In 2016, Cup regulars won 19 of 30 Xfinity races (63.3 percent)

— In 2015, Cup regulars won 23 of 33 Xfinity races (69.7 percent)

— In 2014, Cup regulars won 22 of 33 Xfintiy races (66.7 percent)

— In 2013, Cup regulars won 28 of 33 Xfinity races (84.8 percent)

— In 2012, Cup regulars won 18 of 33 Xfinity races (54.5 percent)

— In 2011, Cup regulars won 28 of 34 Xfinity races (82.4 percent)

HOW MANY CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES RACES HAVE BEEN WON BY CUP DRIVERS THIS YEAR?

Cup drivers have won three of 19 races this year. Four races remain this year.

The breakdown: Kyle Busch (2 wins) and Kyle Larson (1).

NASCAR America: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks Phoenix finish, racing roots

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joins NASCAR America to go over his fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver also shares his racing origins in Mississippi and the hobbies he and girlfriend Danica Patrick share with each other.

Stenhouse is in his fifth full-time year competing in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Alaska

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NASCAR America continues its journey through the United States with the second chapter in “50 States in 50 Shows.”

Following South Alabama Speedway, the show features Capitol Speedway and Alaska Raceway Park in Alaska.

Owned by Nancy and Wes Wallace, Capitol Speedway is a 3/8th-mile oval and features sprint car racing and demolition derbies.

 

Kevin Harvick crew chief fined, suspended one race for encumbered finish

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Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, has been suspended for one NASCAR Cup Series race and fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalty, a L1 infraction, results in an encumbered finish. Harvick placed sixth in the Camping World 500.

The No. 4 team has also been docked 10 driver and owner points. Harvick was seventh in the standings after four races. He trailed leader Kyle Larson by 61 points. The loss of points drops Harvick one spot to eighth behind Jamie McMurray.

Harvick has not won a race yet, which would qualify him for the playoffs.

MORE: Brad Keselowski closes crew chief for three races, team docked 35 driver points

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NASCAR docks Brad Keselowski, Team Penske 35 points; suspends crew chief Paul Wolfe

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NASCAR docked Brad Keselowski 35 points, suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races and fined Wolfe $65,000 because Keselowski’s car failed inspection after finishing fifth in last weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR also docked the team 35 owner points for the L1 infraction. NASCAR stated that Keselowski’s result is an encumbered finish.

NASCAR cited Keselowski’s car for failing weights and measurements on the laser platform. NASCAR stated in Wednesday’s penalty report that the team failed the rear wheel steer on the Laser Inspection Station. 

MORE: NASCAR suspends crew chief Rodney Childers one race

Team Penske issued a statement Wednesday:

“We have acknowledged the penalties levied against the No. 2 team following last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The race cars returned to the race shop today and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question. In the meantime, we have decided Brian Wilson will serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief at Auto Club Speedway while we evaluate our approach relative to today’s penalties.”

The penalty drops Keselowski from second in the standings to fourth heading into this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

The more significant issue is how this could impact Keselowski, who already has a win, in the playoffs.

The top 10 in points before the playoffs begin earn additional points. The points leader earns 15 playoff points. The driver second in the standings earns 10 playoff points, the driver third in the standings earns eight playoff points, the driver fourth in the standings earns seven playoff points. It goes down to the driver 10th in the standings earning one playoff point.

Those playoff points carry through the first three rounds, which is different from last year. Falling behind in the regular season – or losing points because of a penalty – could have ramifications in the playoffs. 

“I think it’s real important to explain why points matter this year,” Keselowski said on Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub” on Wednesday night. “Last year, you got a win and you locked in and you got to the next round. This year with points, you still lock in with wins. The difference is there’s a huge points bonus for having the most points at the end of the season that carries all the way through the playoffs, and you only get that bonus if you’re one of the best cars and leading up front at the end of the regular season, which requires having a lot of points. Thirty-five points is a pretty big deal, and so is 10 points for Kevin (Harvick) and his team.”

 

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