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NASCAR looking at changes to qualifying? UPDATE Here's further proof that the sport once accused of being a dictatorship that cared little about what its fans wanted has done a complete 180.

This is not your father's NASCAR, or even your grandfather's. It's definitely not Brian France's grandfather's NASCAR.

In the old days if NASCAR fans didn't like a NASCAR program like the Top 35 rule it was tough luck. But these days, spurred by an economic recession that still leaves empty seats at most NASCAR tracks, NASCAR is all ears to fan discontent.

And there are few things that fans have been more discontented with than the dreaded Top 35 rule. That's the rule whereby the top 35 teams in the points standings each week are automatically qualified for that weekend's Sprint Cup race.

No matter how slow they might go, no matter if they wreck on the warm-up lap, they are in. Cars that are outside the top 35 must qualify on speed. This group is called Go Or Go Home, as in drive fast or pack up your stuff and leave.

It seems inherently unfair to give automatic qualifying spots to the richest teams and make the struggling teams qualify on speed, which is why most fans loathe it.

But now NASCAR is talking to teams about ditching the Top 35 rule altogether. The new qualifying plan being discussed would assign the first 38 spots in the field to the 38 fastest drivers. The next four would be provisionals going to the four drivers who are highest in the points standings but failed to make it on speed. The 43rd spot would remain a provisional for a past champion.

It makes so much sense, you wonder why it wasn't done earlier. AL.com

07/24/12 NASCAR is kicking around the idea of qualifying the top 38 drivers on time and cutting the number of provisionals down to four plus one for former champions. With sponsors at a premium right now, it could be catastrophic to eliminate provisionals altogether, particularly when a driver missing a race could result in a benefactor pulling its support from the team. Fox Sports
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