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).

Watch NASCAR Cup Awards Show at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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Get settled into your favorite easy chair, make sure you have plenty of snacks and beverages on hand and get ready for the last big event of 2019 on the NASCAR schedule: tonight’s NASCAR Awards Show.

The show will be broadcast on NBCSN from 8-10:30 p.m. ET from Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time. And if you miss some of the show, don’t worry, there’ll be a replay immediately afterward, also on NBCSN.

Kyle Busch will be the main attraction for tonight’s show, being celebrated for winning his second NASCAR Cup championship this past season.

Also, the 2019 NASCAR Cup Most Popular Driver award winner will be revealed. Will it be defending winner Chase Elliott, reigning champion Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto … or someone else? You definitely need to tune in to find out.

And to get you in the mood, we’ll replay Wednesday’s Burnouts on Broadway at 7 p.m. ET, also on NBCSN.

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Will Daniel Suarez race for Richard Childress Racing in 2020?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The president of Richard Childress Racing said it is a “longshot” that Daniel Suarez will drive a third Cup entry for the organization in 2020 but said RCR would like to have Suarez drive its No. 2 Xfinity car next year.

Suarez has not decided where he’ll race in 2020 after losing his ride with Stewart-Haas Racing this year.

Suarez has been linked with RCR. A third Cup entry would require RCR to acquire another charter for that car. It also could mean that the organization would need to hire additional people if they expanded to three full-time cars.

“I think that would be a long shot in a Cup program,” Torrey Galida told NBC Sports about Suarez in a third RCR Cup entry. “We’ve talked to him about an Xfinity program. We’d love to have him in an Xfinity car, and we think we could win another championship next year with Daniel. He’s a very talented young man.”

Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Xfinity car will run the full season with multiple drivers in 2020. Myatt Snider and Anthony Alfredo have been announced to drive that car. Galida said the team is looking at Kaz Grala, Austin Dillon and possibly two-time series champ Tyler Reddick driving that car in select races.

RCR ran the No. 21 car in nine of 33 Xfinity races this past season. It ran the No. 2 car in every race.

If Suarez, the 2016 Xfinity champion, drove for RCR in the Xfinity Series next year, it would be with the organization’s No. 2 car.

“We could still do that and we would do that,” Galida said of a full-time Xfinity effort for Suarez. “That’s the kind of opportunity we would be interested in.”

Galida said it just is a matter of hearing what Suarez decides.

“I think he knows what we’ve got to offer, and I think he’s just weighing his alternatives and trying to determine what is best for him,” Galida told NBC Sports. “I’m sure that going back to the Xfinity Series is not his first choice. I think in the right equipment it could be a really good move for him.”

Galida said they could go into January before hearing from Suarez but noted that “the sooner the better. People are your biggest issue. You want to put the right people around him.”

Next April’s Xfinity race at Bristol to have new sponsor

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Bristol Motor Speedway announced Thursday that partner Alsco, along with Darden Restaurants and its Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen brand, will sponsor next April’s Xfinity Series race there.

The Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco will take place on Saturday, April 4, 2020.

Alsco is a global leader in uniform and linen rental services. In addition to its entitlement at Bristol Motor Speedway, Alsco will take part in Xfinity Series entitlements at three other Speedway Motorsports Inc. racetracks: Kentucky Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Alsco’s initial entitlement at BMS came this past April with the Alsco 300 Xfinity Series race, won by Christopher Bell, who earned a $100,000 bonus through Xfinity’s Dash 4 Cash program.

Alsco is also a sponsor for Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and JR Motorsports.

“Bristol is the place for historic finishes and close, hard-knock racing action,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Alsco and our new friends at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen understand the reputation of racing at The Last Great Colosseum and we’re ready to show them an incredible experience. The Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco is a must-see event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule.”

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Cup champion’s celebration painful to those who didn’t win title

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A year after being feted for his first NASCAR Cup title, Joey Logano returned to Champion’s Week with a different feeling.

“These banquets aren’t really the same after you’ve won it and you know what it’s like to see your car plastered everywhere and your team and everyone is having fun together,” Logano said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’re in Nashville, there’s a lot of really cool things, but it really stinks for the competitor to come to the banquet because it’s just like another reminder that you got beat. That’s not much fun. I don’t really like that part.

“When you leave the banquet that night, you really wish you could race the next day because that’s about the most motivating thing you could do is go to a banquet that you didn’t win because all you want to do is change that. And you want to do it as quickly as possible but you’ve got to wait until Daytona to get going again.”

The sport celebrates Kyle Busch’s championship at 8 p.m. ET today on NBCSN. This marks the first year the NASCAR Awards Show has been in Nashville. Busch was a part of the WWE event in the city on Monday, was honored by the Nashville Predators before Tuesday’s NHL game and took part in the Burnouts on Broadway on Wednesday with many other playoff drivers.

While Busch basks in the celebration, teammate Martin Truex Jr. deals with the pain of finishing second in the championship for a second consecutive year. Logano passed Truex late to win last year’s championship. Truex’s title run this season was derailed, in part, by his crew putting the wrong tires on the wrong side of the car in last month’s championship race in Miami.

Had things gone a little differently, Truex could have won three consecutive championships, matching Cale Yarborough’s accomplishment from 1976-78.

“I’ll tell you when I get over it,” Truex said of the pain of finishing second again for the title. “It’s a  big deal. Work all year long to put yourself in that position. When it doesn’t turn out the way you hope, it’s tough.

“A lot of people put a lot of effort into it. It’s not something that goes away. It takes time. Honestly, I’m still sour about finishing second last year, too. Two years in a row finishing second hurts. you have to learn from it and move on, but you never forget it.”