Cars haven't even hit the track yet, but I have a beef with both NASCAR and several teams.
I'm all for doing anything possible in the garage area, pits, and on track to get my favorite driver into the race. But when team owners start whipping out checkbooks to get them in, I have a major issue.
The whole "let's buy points since we can't get into the races any other way...like, qualifying?" fiasco began with Michael Waltrip in 2006, when he bought the owner points to the No. 77.
Is there something wrong with qualifying?
Let's get you caught up on this past off-season's points changes...
1. Hall of Fame and Yates Racing
As you may know, very late in the off-season, in fact just a few weeks ago, legendary Yates Racing merged with former Gibbs satellite team Hall of Fame Racing.
Because Yates' No. 38, driven by David Gilliland last season, was guaranteed in, those points were shifted to the not so guaranteed in No. 96 car that will now be driven by Bobby Labonte.
Paul Menard in the No. 98 will be getting the points from the No. 28, but Travis Kvapil will still be racing...
2. Stewart Haas Racing
These points simply came from the No. 66 and No. 77 cars, renumbered the No. 39 and No. 14, respectively.
3. Richard Childress Racing
Clint Bowyer need not worry any longer, because your favorite driver appears to be guaranteed in now, thanks to the No. 01's points, which RC got from the now defunct Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
4. Richard Petty Motorsports (see also: Gillett Evernham Motorsports)
AJ Allmendinger may be driving Michael Waltrip Racing's former car, the No. 44, but he actually has the No. 10 points from the former GEM. It's because of these points that he's able to race in the Budweiser Shootout this Saturday night.
5. Red Bull Racing
Scott Speed is guaranteed in because the No. 82 is his driving is AJ Allmendinger's former ride, the No. 84, ergo it's using those points.
6. Penske Championship Racing (see also: Penske Racing)
Sam Hornish, Jr. fan, you need not fret...because Penske bought the No. 22 and added Bill Davis as a minority owner in his team, Hornish will now be guaranteed into the first five races of the year. However, he will not be competing in the Budweiser Shootout.
7. Michael Waltrip Racing
As if this team wasn't already a mess...Waltrip himself will keep his points in the No. 55 NAPA Toyota. David Reutimann, who will have full sponsorship from Aaron's, is now running the No. 00, using its points.
The No. 47, technically a JTG-Daugherty entry, and driver Marcos Ambrose are guaranteed in...we'll get to why next...
8. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
This one is a bit confusing, even for me. Okay, Brad Keselowski was planning on guaranteeing himself in with his Phoenix Racing ride by using the points of the No. 41, driverless since Reed Sorenson departed for Richard Petty Motorsports.
However, NASCAR officials have announced that "they have ruled that the points-transfer rules were not designed to give teams a fifth car for a rookie."
Because rookies don't need seat time, right?
On the other hand, John Andretti, driving the No. 34, will get the points from Paul Menard's former ride, guaranteeing him in.
I've always been a big defender of the top 35 in owner's points, but this is absolutely ridiculous. If you can't qualify for the race, you shouldn't be in the race; it doesn't matter how talented you are.
Fans would be more excited about this sport if we would get back to some die-hard racin', not writing checks at 200 mph.
Congratulations, NASCAR, you've once again proved how inconsistent you really are.
Thanks to Jayski, the USA Today and St. Augustine for the information used in this piece.