In baseball, the mark of mediocrity for a hitter is called the "Mendoza line." Named for former shortstop Mario Mendoza, a career .215 hitter, players unfortunate enough to fall below a .200 average are known to be "below the Mendoza line."
In NASCAR, that mark of mediocrity exists for teams as well: the cutoff in owners' points that guarantees the top 35 teams in the sport a starting spot from week to week. Teams hovering at or around this line are usually the definition of mediocre, whether because they're a fully-funded team that disappoints or a start-and-park team that doesn't run enough to show their true caliber on the track.
Those 35 guaranteed starting spots are a huge selling point for teams, even though they can change from week to week. A team with a guaranteed starting spot can usually find a driver or sponsor willing to come on board if necessary (see Richard Childress Racing this week), while a team lacking that guaranteed spot may have a frustrating weekend on more than one front.
Luckily for the backmarkers outside of the top 35, one good run can put them right back in the mix. The situation gets better for those who have already found a way in, as a strong finish can put them in the top 30 and ease worry for weeks. While it's early in the season, many of these teams will likely be fighting tooth and nail to guarantee their race invitations from week to week all season.
Without further ado, let's explore the teams who are ranked from 31st to 40th place in owners' points, or around NASCAR's Mendoza line, entering the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.