NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell hinted Monday that a decision could be coming soon on if to further limit Cup drivers next year in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.
O’Donnell, chief racing development officer for NASCAR, made the comments on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Asked about any discussion on Cup drivers in those series beyond this season, O’Donnell said:
“I think it’s trying to find that right balance. Some of the tracks we race on don’t have a Monster Energy race and is that a track that maybe one of those drivers could show up and race at? Perhaps.
“More and more the fans are speaking very loudly that they like the rising talent that we have in this series, we do as well, and the established veterans that are there. That is continuing on and we’ll have to make a decision really, really quickly in terms of what we do for 2019. We took a pretty bold step this year and that’s something we’ve got to evaluate and see if we want to go further.’’
NASCAR announced last August that Cup drivers with more than five years full-time experience would be limited to a maximum seven Xfinity races this season (down from 10 in 2017) and a maximum five Camping World Truck Series races (down from seven in 2017).
Also, any driver who elects to score Cup points, regardless of Cup experience, are prohibited from competing in the regular-season finale, the seven playoff races and the four Dash 4 Cash races. That means such drivers are ineligible to compete in 12 of the 33 Xfinity races this season.
Drivers who score Cup points are barred from competing in the last eight Truck races of the season — regular-season finale and the seven playoff races. That means Cup drivers cannot compete in seven of the 23 Truck races.
O’Donnell said in April on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that series officials were monitoring the reaction of fans and others in the sport about limits on Cup drivers in other national series.
“It’s one thing to say we like this, but fans need to turn out, ratings need to be there and those sorts of things,’’ O’Donnell said at the time. “That’s something that we’ll continue to monitor, but our gut tells us that’s the direction we want to continue to go, even more so in 2019 and beyond.’’
Xfinity races run so far by Cup drivers (limit 7) in 2018:
4 – Kyle Busch
4 – Ty Dillon
3 – Austin Dillon
3 – Chase Elliott
3 – Joey Logano
3 – Jamie McMurray
2 – Ryan Blaney
2 – Kevin Harvick
2 – Brad Keselowski
2 – Kyle Larson
1 – Aric Almirola
1 – Gray Gaulding
1 – Paul Menard
1 – Daniel Suarez
NOTE: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Alex Bowman are on preliminary entry list for Michigan Xfinity race.