Starting next season, the amount of races that some Cup drivers can enter in the lower level series will be limited. NASCAR announced Wednesday that drivers in the top tier Cup series with more than five years experience can only enter 10 Xfinity races, and seven Truck series races in a season. In addition, they won’t be allowed to race in any of the final eight races in those series that comprise the championship Chase for the respective series.
Cup drivers will also be barred from the four races in the Dash 4 Cash program.
Based on the new rules, Kyle Busch, 2015 Cup champion, who has a record 85 career wins in the Xfinity series and has entered 16 Xfinity races this season, winning nine, will only have eligibility to enter 10 Xfinity races next season. In the Truck series, 16 races will have eligibility.
Drivers will less than five years experience at the Cup level will be exempt from the new rules. This includes drivers such as Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott.
Cup drivers racing in the lower tier series has been a controversial issue. Some fans argue that Cup drivers winning many of the Xfinity and Truck races takes the attention away from the young drivers trying to make a name for themselves in what have become “feeder” series for the top tier Cup level. There is also the argument that having star Cup drivers in the lower levels sell tickets, and give young drivers experience against Cup regulars.
NASCAR had restricted drivers from earning championship points in more than one of the top three touring series starting in 2011. Drivers must now declare the series in which they will earn points, making them eligible for race wins, but not the season championship.
NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy said that a rules update affecting driver participation was “certainly not a new discussion.”
“The updated guidelines will elevate the stature of our future stars, while also providing them the opportunity to compete against the best in professional motorsports,” said Cassidy. “These updated guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort involving the entire industry, and will ultimately better showcase the emerging stars of NASCAR.”