NASCAR puts further limitations on Cup drivers participation in Xfinity, Truck series

LOUDON, NH - JULY 15: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Overton's 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2017 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

NASCAR announced Tuesday that drivers with more than five years’ experience in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series can only race in seven races in the Xfinity Series and five in the Truck series starting in 2018.

The new restriction updates those put in place for 2017, dropping the number of races from 10 in the Xfinity series, and seven in Trucks.  The new rules also prohibit Cup drivers from competing in regular season finale and playoff races in each series, as well as the Dash 4 Cash races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is a change from the 2017 rules that say Cup drivers with five-plus years’ experience can race in the season-ending eight-race playoffs, except for the season ending championship races, which will be exclusive to those series’ respective drivers.

“Fans have made it clear that they want to see the future stars of the sport racing against their peers in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series,” said Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations. “These guidelines achieve that and preserve limited opportunities for developing drivers to compete against the best in motorsports.”

NASCAR said the updated guidelines do not apply to drivers who are competing for the championship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“Any time we implement a change, we’re going to monitor it closely and make sure we’re measuring the level of success or making sure that if there’s an opportunity to make it even better, then we will,” Cassidy told NASCAR.com. “In this case, we really like what we’ve seen and in talking with all the other stakeholders that we would normally talk to, this has been a very popular subject over a long period of time.

“We’re certainly excited to see what happens during the playoffs, but based upon the feedback that we’ve had, we were fortunate enough not to have to wait till the playoffs to come up with this next round of limitations. It’s good, it’s working in all respects, and this next layer just provides additional opportunity to focus on those drivers coming up through.”

NASCAR began to restrict drivers from double-duty participation before the 2011 season, when NASCAR required drivers to select one of the three series in which to collect championship points. The change ended a five-year run of premier-series regulars winning the Xfinity championship by moonlighting full time.

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