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DATE News (chronologically)
07/17/10
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More on NASCAR trying to limit Cup drivers
NASCAR Chairman Brian France seems determined to change the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

France hinted earlier this month that changes to the Nationwide Series could keep Sprint Cup drivers from winning the series championship.

“You’re likely to see us make some changes in the Nationwide Series … because there’s such a concentration of Cup drivers, which we like on one hand, but we want to make sure that that division is our version of college football – that there’s drivers, owners, crew members all building their identities and careers through that channel, and there needs to be a big enough place for them to do that,” France said two weeks ago at Daytona.

“If it’s just narrow, if there’s not many seats available because we don’t accomplish a lot of things, … you’re gonna see from us a policy standpoint begin to deal with that issue beginning in 2011. That’s something that we’ll do carefully.”

“We like Cup drivers racing in the Nationwide Series,” France said. “We need to make sure the stage is not crowded out so much so that we can’t give opportunities to Nationwide young regulars who need that experience.

“And you know what? In my discussions with the Sprint Cup drivers, they agree with us. They think just that way, too. The owners certainly agree with us. So there are going to be some things that we can do.”

Edwards has advocated that Cup drivers start in the rear of the field and limit their practice time.

“When Justin Allgaier beat me at Bristol, I just didn’t think he needed any more exposure or a chance to beat us Cup guys,” said Edwards, who has only one win in the series this year.

The win by Allgaier was the only victory in 18 races this season by a Nationwide Series regular who does not compete at the Cup level. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch has seven wins while Keselowski has three and Kevin Harvick two.

“The Cup drivers shouldn’t be banned from being in the Nationwide Series,” JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt said. “[But] I don’t think they should contend for the championship.”

Three Cup drivers are contending for the title this year by running every race – Keselowski, Edwards and Paul Menard.

“The backbone of that thing is the Cup guys racing,” said Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs. “How do you have that and still give the young guys a shot? We did it before. We did it with Denny [Hamlin], we did it with Joey, we did it with Tony Stewart.

“How do you make it for a team owner worthwhile? If they have some plans that it gets more people involved, great. But you’ve got to be careful that you don’t make it so the Cup guys don’t want to be involved. How do you have them not totally involved by partially involved? I don’t know.”

Nationwide regular Jason Leffler said that a Chase format could be the answer.

“I definitely think the Chase format would work really well for the Nationwide Series,” Leffler said. “It kind of takes your ups and downs through the year, and as long as you can stay in the top 10, you can reset yourself there for the last 10 races and maybe we’d see a different champion.

“Maybe we’d see a Nationwide-only driver win the championship. I think it would bring a lot of attention to the Nationwide Series, not that it doesn’t already, but more is better.” Scenedaily.com

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