Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NASCAR, Cup Series Teams and Owners points: How does NASCAR stop this and will they?

Welcome readers, with another NASCAR season on the horizon, this is the point in the year that one of the biggest deals roars its ugly head. Yes the Top 35 and the debate of who gets who’s owners points and every year it gets more and more ridiculous to watch, let along figure out.

Back in 2007, I called out NASCAR and Penske Racing for miss using owner’s points when NASCAR approved a Penske owner’s point swap between the #2-Kurt Busch and his new teammate the #77-Sam Hornish Jr. so that Hornish could be guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races.

If that wasn’t enough, this will be another one of those years with the owner’s points that will for sure get several fans and media member’s attention.

According to Jayski.com, for 2011, there are several changes in the owner’s points that will guarantee several drivers a starting spot in the Daytona 500 and the four races following the Great American Race.

The first bit of news to get my attention had to be RWI (Rusty Wallace Inc.) with driver Steven Wallace wanting to make the Daytona 500. Now rather than going out and trying to qualify, the rookie will now have a guaranteed starting sport thanks to Penske Racing with the #77 swap in owner’s points. Of course Roger Penske is listed as the owner on Wallace’s #77 Cup Series car.

But that wasn’t the only change, try four more. The next one had to do with the #71 TRG team. The way I understand it, the listed owner of the #71 car left the team with the owners points from 2010 and took them to RCR for the #27-Paul Menard. The former owner will now be listed as the car owner after the former owner and RCR formed an alliance for the first several races. I remember RCR doing that a few years back as well.

Now you would think that that would leave the #71 without owner’s points right? Nope, the #71-Andy Lally at TRG will now take over the old #98 owner’s points. Remember, Richard Petty Motorsports reduced the team from a four car team to a two car team. That left the #19 and #98 teams and owner’s points up for grabs.

Which sends us into the #19 owner’s points, they will now be in the #21-Travor Bayne. As far as I know, the #21 is the Wood Brothers Racing. The #21 will run in several select races.

And finally as far as I know, the #37 and #38 will swap owner’s points putting the #38-David Gilliland into the first five races including the Daytona 500.

But the biggest question is, how does NASCAR stop this and will they? 
There is a few ideas on the table in my eyes:
1. NASCAR could do away with the entire top 35 in owner’s points, but since that’s as close as NASCAR will get for now to franchising the sport, that’s highly unlikely.
2. So that leaves it to everybody must qualify for the first two races of the season including the Daytona 500 regardless of where they finished in the previous season and then have the new seasons owner’s points start at race #3. It's a dramatic change and I'm sure provisionals will return for the first two races, but that would be better then this owner's points deal. Basically, once a season is over, so are the owner's points.

But will NASCAR stop this?
No, at least not in the next few years anyway or not until owner's start speaking up and calling for change.

Until then NASCAR, its teams, drivers, media members and fans are all stuck with this drama for now. Well at least NASCAR has a few requirements to being allowed to swap owner’s points and selling is under the table.

Hat tip to Jayski.com