January 17, 2011
By Matthew Pizzolato
NASCAR officials have been talking about making some major changes to the sport since the off-season began. The first of those changes is that drivers can only compete for one championship.
On the surface, it may not appear as a significant change since the vast majority of drivers only compete for one title anyway. However, this new rule is directed at full time Cup drivers who moonlight in the Nationwide series.
There has been talk for the last several years that NASCAR should do something to make its developmental series just that – a developmental series. NASCAR has garnered a lot of criticism over the issue given the fact that full time Cup drivers have won the last five Nationwide Championships, yet no one could come up with an acceptable solution.
There is no way that NASCAR would prohibit Cup drivers from competing in the Nationwide Series. A lot of fans only watch the lower tier series to see their favorite Cup drivers and the sponsors want to be associated with a big name driver who has a better chance of getting their car to Victory Lane. Keeping sponsorship dollars and changing everything under the sun in an attempt to keep the fans happy is what NASCAR is all about recently.
However, Cup drivers will still be competing in the series on a weekly basis and will more than likely still be winning races, so how is this a solution to the problem?
As of yet, NASCAR officials haven't confirmed or denied the change, instead saying they will have a "competition update" on January 21 at Daytona. There are rumors of several other changes that are expected to be announced as well.
This change to the Nationwide Series was announced last week when Kenny Wallace told nascar.com that drivers must declare which championship they want to earn points for on their 2011 license applications.
"The brand-new license forms that are out, there's a box and in it, it states that you have to mark -- put an X -- what championship you're running for," Wallace quoted his application in a Dave Rodman article on nascar.com. "A driver will only be permitted to earn driver championship points in one (1) of the following three series: NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Please select the series in which you would like to accumulate driver championship points. Choose one."
If this change is to be made, and there is no reason that it won't given the fact that NASCAR has changed the license applications to that effect, it will likely only affect two drivers: Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards. They are the only drivers who had planned to run the full Nationwide schedule anyway.
It would seem that Keselowski took the news the hardest and posted the following comment on his Twitter account last Friday.
"Needed a good laugh tonight after being ruled ineligible for both Shootout and NW championship in one loooong week. Thanks for the support!"
However, the following day, Keselowski seemed to recant a little bit.
"To clarify last nights [sic] remarks about NW championship, no I have not been notified by anyone at NASCAR about the 2011 rules for eligibility."
Yet if this change is indeed true, will this new rule backfire on NASCAR or is it a good decision? If Brad Keselowski or Carl Edwards accrue more points than the eventual Nationwide Champion, will it taint the championship?
If you would like to learn more about Matthew, please check out his web site at matthew-pizzolato.com.
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